Maui youth left inspired by training trip to the Netherlands

Cannon Vines (right), a freshman at Seabury Hall, works against an academy player at Excelsior Rotterdam during a training session earlier this month. Vines was among 12 Maui youth who joined others from across Hawaii on a trip to the Netherlands that included training, competing, learning and watching games with the Royal Dutch Football Association. Guillaume Kortekaa's photos

Maui's Cannon Vines and Lucas Ginoza had the rare opportunity to live and breathe soccer with professional athletes and coaches in Europe.

Vines and Ginoza were among 36 players from across Hawaii, including a dozen from Maui, who spent a week during spring break to train, compete, learn and watch games with Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) West Coast players and coaches. Netherlands.

“I thought it was an interesting experience” said Vines, a freshman at Seabury Hall. “It's definitely different from Maui, like the intensity that the Holland players brought was very different, and I was pretty inspired by it and I want to bring that inspiration back here to Maui.”

Vines said his main takeaway from the camp and KNVB players was the importance of bringing great energy and giving full effort during matches and training.

“It was really fun for me” said Ginoza, an eighth-grader at Kamehameha Schools Maui. “The practice was really fast-paced, more competitive than here in Hawaii, a much different environment because everyone up there is really good players and just does very little things that separate the best players and everyone just goes 100 percent all the time.”

Lucas Ginoza, an eighth grader at Kamehameha Schools Maui, participates in a training session with Willem II in Tilburg.

Boys from Oahu, Maui and Hawaii trained alongside their Dutch peers in the professional youth academies of five different professional soccer clubs, with additional training by coaches from the Netherlands national team at their campus in the town of Zeist.

This opportunity was the first of its kind for local players and was coordinated by Aleksandar Filipovic, President and Head of Coaching for the Valley Isle Soccer Academy.

Players born in 2007, 2008 and 2009 were invited to Europe after a three-day youth training camp organized by KNVB coaches at Keopuolani Park last July.

“Most of these boys aspire to play football at the collegiate or professional level,” Filipovic said so in a press release earlier this month. “This is an opportunity for them to learn from the elite youth coaches in Dutch football and play alongside peers in the professional youth academy system. Training in this environment will challenge our boys and help them set benchmarks for their own development.”

Joining Vines and Ginoza on the trip were fellow Maui players Vincent Moore, Jaycen Fernandez, Noah Johannes, Kenji Wunder, Jorden Carbonell, Josia Labuanan, Gabriel Chauvin, Ty Arakawa, La'i Na'inoa Green-Abafo and Corey Swatek.

The Hawaii players had a busy schedule filled with soccer, including a morning practice with FC Dordrecht and afternoon practice with Excelsior Rotterdam; plays with NAC Breda; trains with PSV Eindhoven and also with KNVB coaches at the National Campus in Zeist; worked with Willem II in Tilburg and then with Sparta Rotterdam; and watch games with other players.

“The first three (days) were quite fun and I had a lot of fun with my friends and hanging out with them on bus trips and seeing the different players and their skills, but I think the last two days were quite exhausting because by then I had done six or seven workouts and I was a little tired.” Vines said with a laugh. “I think one of my favorite parts was training at the national training facility with experienced coaches and their extraordinary fields – their fields were nice and very professional. The coaches had a lot of tips and things to help us get better and different training exercises.”

Ginoza, who has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old, said that “it's just another game up there.”

“My favorite part was training with the players from the clubs up there,” he said. “The biggest thing for me was the intensity that they play at, it's like always 100 percent – the way they train, the way they play. Another thing I would take away is the way they play out there is more physical. Like, if I'm in a matchup with someone one-on-one, they would use their arms, their whole body to win the ball and bump me so I would lose the ball.”

Vines and Ginoza, who were roommates on the trip, both have ambitions to take soccer to the next level.

“If you really want something, like anything else in life, you just have to work hard for it,” Ginoza said.

* Dakota Grossman is at

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