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Windward // Windward Oahu Sports

Rush Soccer Opens Windward Program For Young Talents

In only 11 short years, the Rush Soccer Club has built up a solid reputation around the globe when it comes to promoting interest in the sport. Locally, Rush’s next targeted area is the Windward side, having recently organized Rush Windward.

“I decided we needed a more affordable option for players who want to play at a higher competitive level than American Youth Soccer Organization,” said Don Mangiarelli, who is a coach as well as the director of the new organization. “The Windward side needed a large club to come in, and Rush Windward will provide that for the kids.”

A longtime Kailua resident, Mangiarelli coached previously with Le Jardin Soccer Academy as well as Windward Oahu Soccer Club before making the move to Rush. The new club, which practices at Waimanalo District Park, already has five youth soccer teams working out despite still being in its infancy.

Among the advantages of being affiliated with Rush Windward is the club’s holistic approach to building individual skill in its players, in Mangiarelli’s view. “We’re player-development centered,” he said. “The goal is not to go out and win every game, although we certainly want to win, but to develop players for the next level of soccer. We’re there to give them the tools to be able to go on to wherever they desire, whether it’s at the high school, the college or professional level.”

Like other affiliates, Rush Windward “is always actively seeking players, boys and girls,” he added, noting that its inaugural season starts Aug. 23 when teams play their first games.

Rush Soccer is the largest youth club in the world, he said, and it currently serves 34,000 youths. Formed in 2002 under the leadership of the Colorado Rush Soccer Club, 30 domestic clubs currently are affiliated with Rush Soccer, including organizations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Virginia Beach, Albuquerque, Houston, Kansas City (Mo.), Anchorage, Honolulu, Detroit, Boise, Memphis, Lexington (Ky.), Philadelphia, Trenton, Bend (Or.), Southern California, Orlando, Seattle, Atlanta, Des Moines, Little Rock, Madison, Bowie (Md.), Atlantic City, Phoenix, Akron, New York City, Northern Boston, Dover and Dallas.

Starting in 2009, Rush Soccer also began expansion at the international level when it formed a partnership with a small village in South Africa called Nkomazi. Since then, Rush has partnered with clubs in Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, Congo and South Africa; as well as Uruguay and Brazil in South America; Thailand, Tajikistan and India in Asia; New Zealand, Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, the Bahamas and the islands of the Caribbean.

For more information, prospective players can email the club at rushwindward@gmail.com.

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