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Nearly 400 keiki playing AYSO soccer

By Staff | Sep 8, 2011


LAHAINA — The solid gold leadership core that has taken West Maui AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) into the new millennium continues to guide one of our community’s outstanding youth sports organizations for 2011.

They have been around for decades and continue to be the essential mentors in support of family and community well-being.

Owen and Marilyn Ueno, James and Annie Hayes, Sky Delaney, Annabehl Sinclair Delaney, Sam Aki, Tony Griffith and Mark Altier are some of the names that have grown West Maui AYSO into a self-sufficient nonprofit organization that pays forward the wholesome health benefits that nurtured their own children years ago.

The AYSO ethics of everyone plays, balanced teams, positive coaching, open registration and good sportsmanship continue to be instilled and maintained by this dedicated group.

This year, Owen Ueno — for years the West Maui commissioner — has moved up to the area assistant director position on the board that oversees the Central, Kihei, Upcountry and West Maui AYSO organizations.

Annie Hayes assumes the West Maui leadership role to guide the program that serves some 375 kids ages 4-14 here on the West Side.

Joining Hayes on the board of directors for West Maui AYSO are Tehani Villalobos as treasurer, Aki as coach administrator, James Hayes as assistant coach administrator, Griffith as referee administrator, Mark Altier as age group coordinator, Holly Pendergast as child volunteer protection advocate, Sinclair Delaney as registrar, Marilyn Ueno as VIP coordinator and Sky Delaney as referee mentor.

According to Commissioner Hayes, West Maui AYSO for 2011 will be divided into six divisions from Under-Fives up through the U-14 age group, comprising 39 teams.

Games at the Lahaina Recreation Center fields and Napili Park began last Saturday, Sept. 3, and will continue through Nov. 19 to complete the ten-game schedule for the teams.

“The season is culminated with the Maui Friendship Games at those sweet fields up at Eddie Tam Park Upcountry,” said Hayes last week, as she scurried about between meetings with coaches at several levels, distributing uniforms to them. “We had four teams in the games last year, and the kids really love the event.

“This is a challenge for me this year, as Owen has moved up into his new position, but he had things so well organized after doing it for so long that everyone is working together better than ever before. Things are going along really well. It’s always a challenge to find enough volunteers to coach, so some people are coaching two, three teams. And I’d like to see some corporate sponsor step forward with a scholarship for high school seniors that have participated in West Maui AYSO. It’d be nice to see someone from the community step up and do this.

All in all, Hayes and company are pleased with the progress the organization has made thus far in 2011. Just walking around the fields during practice sessions last week, one couldn’t help but notice the upbeat, happy energy being nurtured by West Maui AYSO.

“The kids are always happy here, and I’m happy to have such an awesome board of directors to work with. I feel that if you care about your kids, you’ll stand behind their passions; and I think that’s what’s happening here,” she concluded.