This Kapolei Squad’s Goal: Be Hawaiʻi’s First U.S. Soccer Development Academy Club

There are 197 U.S. Soccer Development Academy clubs in the United States. None are in Hawaiʻi. James Escobar Sasiadek is hoping to change that.

Sasiadek helped found Kapolei-based Pipeline Soccer Club Hawaiʻi, which has grown to serve approximately 250 boys and girls aged 4-17. As of July, the organization has a new name: Hawaiʻi Soccer Academy.

The new name reflects a new mission: “Our goal is to be the top developmental academy in the state,” says Sasiadek.

Hawaiʻi Soccer Academy Will Get Kids Ready For Big League Opportunities

“We’re really trying to provide the bees’ knees of soccer here,” says Sasiadek. “So: more training than the normal — three to four days per week. The highest-credential coaches, and then travel, with the intent to get these kids off the island to see if they can get college or professional opportunities.”

In July, the academy’s girls under-10 team won the prestigious Albion Cup tournament in San Diego. And just last month, Sasiadek accompanied four boys in the program to a tryout at the youth academy for Los Angeles FC, the top team in Major League Soccer.

Do big pro clubs like LAFC really see Hawaiʻi as a potential recruiting ground? James says they do.

“I think the image of Hawaii has changed because Bobby Wood came from here, and we’ve had a couple of kids go to some MLS academies recently,” says Sasiadek. “With our relationships hopefully we can see if we can get (more) kids to go.”

james sasiadek, co-founder, Hawaii Soccer Academy

James Sasiadek, co-founder, Hawaiʻi Soccer Academy

New Partnership With Under Armour, Adding More Coaches

Sasiadek and Hawaiʻi Soccer Academy recently announced a four-year sponsorship deal with Under Armour. The sports apparel company will provide HSA with world-class uniforms, training gear, and equipment, as well as marketing, education, and travel resources.

From the original home base in Kapolei, HSA now has teams competing all over the island. They hope to branch out to the other islands as well.

The HSA coaching staff has increased from 10 to 22, including nationally-licensed “A” and “B” coaches, goalkeeper specific trainers, personal trainers, agility trainers, and a nutritionist. All coaches meet a coaching education criteria set by the Academy, including Grassroots Coaching Licenses, as well as U.S. Soccer Licensing and Diplomas.

New coaches include:

The Path To Becoming A U.S. Soccer Development Academy

Becoming the first U.S. Soccer Development Academy in the state would give kids better access to showcases that could lead to opportunities playing college soccer, or professionally in the U.S., or even in top leagues overseas.

According to U.S. Soccer: “Development Academy clubs meet Academy standards for training and game environments to ensure players are developing their skills in an elite environment.”

Hawaiʻi Soccer Academy girls team

Kids enrolled in Hawaiʻi Soccer Academy teams typically practice 2-3 times during the week, with games on Saturdays or Sundays.

“Hawaii Soccer Academy has not only warmly welcomed my son, Sebastien, but has also provided him with tools for life that go beyond soccer,” says Miguel Gonzalez, a Kapolei resident and president of Catalyst Public Relations & Marketing. “We appreciate the efforts of Coach James and his wonderful staff of dedicated coaches.”

Sasiadek sees getting that U.S. Soccer Development Academy certification as a medium-term goal, something that he expects to happen within the next two to three years.

For now he’s focused on bringing in more coaches, creating access to facilities, and expanding the overall operation.

“Nothing I have ever done in this business or even with a child’s development is ever good when you rush it,” he says. “I’m really trying to be strategic in how we do it.”

Parents interested in enrolling their kids in the academy can go to the Hawaiʻi Soccer Academy website, email, or call 808-225-4407.