Kailua Coach Has A Roster Full Of Talent For Boys Soccer
Within Kailua High’s soccer program, the boys always know that their playing time will depend on their ability to defend.
Indeed, Kailua head coach Steve Dignam wastes little time in setting the tone for his team’s defensive play. This week, as the Surfriders begin preparing for the new season, the prevailing theme once again is to keep the opposition down.
“As a player, that (concept) always was embedded in me by every coach I played for,” said Dignam. “Defense wins championships, as the old saying goes.”
Kailua was solid on defense again last season, enabling the team to play its share of close encounters, as six of Kailua’s 11 games were decided by a goal or less.
The team also posted three shutouts en route to a 4-6-1 season – no small feat given that Kailua has one of the smallest enrollments in the OIA’s Red division.
Hopes are high again this year, according to the coach. “We should be fairly solid there (defensively) again if we can keep everybody eligible. That’s always a concern. Kids always have to understand that their classes are first (priority) and playing soccer is second. That (academic casualties) always hurts a team.
“We have a lot of returnees, so we’re looking for a better season (in the win-loss column).
“We did lose our sweeper (Clayton Bovee to graduation), but we have three starting defenders back, and I’m being told that we have a good group of freshmen coming in,” added Dignam. “We also saw a lot of new faces at our first meeting.”
Leading the way will be junior goalie Colin Kubota, who made a huge difference as a sophomore.
“He’s a great kid,” Dignam said. “Not everybody wants to play goalkeeper, but he’ll do everything he can to do the job. He’ll play anywhere that you ask.
“Last year, he had to step up as goalkeeper. I told him before school let out last May that I needed him to grow a few more inches. Right now, I think he’s 5-9.”
The aforementioned trio of returning starters on the defensive side is made up of Jian Madiam, Trevor Tam and Isaiah Aquino.
“Jian is in his fourth year with us now, so he’ll play a big role,” Dignam said. “That kid is tireless. Trevor is probably our most-skilled defender when you’re talking about ball skills.
“We have big plans for Isaiah,” he added. “He has good size and speed.”
Throughout the roster, Dignam will call on a lot of familiar faces. The offensive side will be highlighted by returnees Naia Graham and Peter Kanoa.
“Both Naia and Peter were starting to really click in the playoffs, so we’re hoping they can build off of that and continue to work off of each other,” Dignam said.
He also had high praise for midfielder Max Irons, who returns to the fold for his senior year.
Kailua’s public unveiling is set for Nov. 19 when the Surfriders will host Pac-Five at 6:30 p.m. in a pre-season game.
The team’s OIA slate begins Dec. 4, when they host Farrington.