West Maui AYSO growing amid rising popularity of soccer
LAHAINA – The ascendance of the United States women’s team to the World Cup Soccer championship this year will certainly ignite a blaze of interest in the most popular sport on Earth outside of American soil. And surely that fire will bring droves of youngsters – particularly more girls – to the Lahaina Recreation Center Field, the home of West Maui AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization).
Adding to the burgeoning AYSO numbers, not only here on the West Side of Maui but all across the USA, is the decades-long influx of Hispanic immigrants to pump up their cultural heritage within the sport of “futbol,” as it is known in foreign lands.
According to veteran West Maui AYSO Regional Commissioner Annie Hayes, the numbers for the West Side will indeed surpass last year’s registration.
“We expect to have more than the 300 kids participating this year over last season,” she said. “We’ll be registering children ages four to 13 to fill the 35 teams in West Maui AYSO, and right now we’re running at 52 percent boys and 48 percent girls (as opposed to 60 percent boys and 40 percent girls last season).”
Commissioner Hayes also noted that Kihei AYSO has started a new program and formed an under 16 coed team to play travel games on Maui. “If there is enough interest, West Maui might get a team up to travel and play in this division. The season begins for all teams on September 5 and plays through November 14,” she added.
Before the regular season begins, a new Player Development Program will kick off on Aug. 30 and run for the week preceding the start of the schedule. Hayes explained that two AYSO coach trainers will be brought in to work with players and coaches on the main field at the Lahaina Recreation Center during the assigned practice times.
“We encourage all coaches to take advantage of this opportunity and take part in the sessions. We hope to raise funds to expand the program in the future for all age divisions. We are also looking for host families for this year’s trainers,” she said.
Hayes had special praise for the West Maui AYSO board of directors that includes Owen Ueno as assistant regional commissioner; Anthony Griffith, referee administrator; Nicole Okada, safety director and secretary; Tehani Villalobos, treasurer; Annabehl Sinclair Delaney, registrar; James Hayes, coaches administrator; and Holly Perndergast, child protection advocate.
“We’re looking for more volunteers to reactivate our VIP Program (the program brought the opportunity for challenged children to participate in West Maui AYSO, but it faded in recent years); also more board members, including a fundraising chairperson and an events coordinator,” she explained.
“Mahalo also goes out to Maui County Parks and Recreation, Jim Falk Motors of Maui, Chevy Youth Sports, Kona Ice, Meadow Gold Dairies, Score Sports, Action Photos of Hawaii, and Westside Glass for your support.”
Go to West Maui AYSO’s Facebook page for the most accurate and updated information, visit www.westmauiayso.com or contact Annie at 669-6883 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you ready? One, two, three, “Gooooooooaaal!!!”