There’s no doubt, the King Kekaulike High School soccer programs — boys and girls — are family affairs in so many ways.
Na Alii’s boys may have lost Bailey Hofmann at the tender age of 16, but if he is gone, he will leave a lasting legacy for the Maui Interscholastic League and state champions.
Hofmann, a sophomore midfielder, is The Maui News MIL Player of the Year after guiding Na Alii on a season-long journey the Upcountry school will never forget. He scored six goals — including two huge tallies in the state tournament — and compiled 12 assists.
“It’s an amazing experience, I mean I’ve been working hard since preseason, and I can’t give all the credit to me because King K is like a family,” Hofmann said. “We all do everything together, we’re all brothers and the coaching staff is just amazing. It’s just the experience of a lifetime.”
He is currently in Germany working out with a former Bayern Munich player in hopes of landing a spot with a Bundesliga team academy, a move that is rare for a current MIL player, if it has ever occurred.
He took a state championship T-shirt with him to Munich.
“I still can’t believe it, just because of the team that we had, but it was pretty cool that we pulled it off,” Hofmann said.
Hofmann is joined on the MIL first team by Na Alii teammates Owen Riecke (midfielder), Jai Sternthall (midfielder), Angus Daniels (defender), Jake Solorio (defender), and Kai Thomas (defender); Baldwin’s Kekoa Kiesling (forward), Landon Wong (midfielder) and Kaz Kinoshita (defender); Seabury Hall’s Trey Cerizo (goalkeeper) and Duke Romanchak (utility); and Kamehameha Maui’s Kayden Medeiros (forward).
Hofmann guided Na Alii to just the third Hawaii High School Athletic Association state team title in school history, to go along with the 2004 mixed paddling crown and the 2006 Division II state football championship.
“We’re just showing how Na Alii has been improving in the soccer aspect and showing just what King K has,” Hofmann said.
Co-head coaches Aaron Hamamura and Tye Perdido are the choices of their peers as The Maui News MIL Coaches of the Year. Hamamura was quick to give credit to assistant coaches Barry McKay, Mario Jimenez, Noah Walin and Ryan Arakawa.
“This staff is so great, there’s no egos, nobody cares about the spotlight, who’s getting credit for what, none of that — it’s just 100 percent laser focused on developing and improving the boys,” Hamamura said.
Hofmann is a key example of that.
“Bailey is definitely a special player,” Hamamura said. “I can’t say enough good things about that kid. I’m not sure if anybody has ever done this from the MIL. It’s awesome, it’s just going to help future MIL players, kind of lead the way for them and let them know that it’s possible.”
The family aspect reaches the coaching staff, too — trainers Samantha Perdido and Larissa Jimenez are married to coaches on the staff, and fellow trainer Cameron Smith is also a key part of the program.
The public address announcer for boys and girls soccer matches at King Kekaulike Stadium is Duane Hamamura, Aaron Hamamura’s father. Na Alii’s scorekeeping crew is made up of fathers of former players for the school and has been together for more than two decades.
“Especially because of the announcing crew at King K, in my opinion, our home-field advantage because of that is unrivaled,” Aaron Hamamura said.
Aaron Hamamura was quick to credit youth coaching on Maui with developing their roster, which could be formidable for years to come. Only Thomas and second-team selection Hugh Ward are seniors.
Hofmann credited coach Brent Nunes and Albion Soccer Club “for making the player and person I am today.”
The King Kekaulike boys title is the first D-I boys soccer state crown won outright for any MIL team — the Baldwin boys shared the crown with Hawaii Prep in 2018, the first time Neighbor Island teams won a D-I boys title in the sport. That match was halted late in the proceedings in a 1-1 tie due to lightning in the area.
Hofmann explained his trip to Germany, which came about quickly after winning the state crown on March 5 with a 3-1 win over Hilo.
“I’m basically under an agency that goes around and finds players to try out for, like, professional teams over here in Germany,” Hofmann said. “If they like me they can sign me, they can talk to me. I’m training with an ex-Bayern Munich player and the training is just unreal here. It’s all individual, all technical, and just everything that I’ve dreamed of.”
Hofmann holds German and U.S. passports — his father is a German citizen, his mother is an American citizen. He is the youngest player in his current camp, by five years in age.
“My parents have been really supportive in getting me to the next level of soccer and they found this agency that is in Germany and they were really excited because I’m part German and I have a German passport, which makes is easier to get recruited,” Hofmann said. “I feel like I’m doing really well, I’m just improving every day. Feel like my dribbling and my shooting is getting on point, so when I come back I can show off what I’ve learned.”
Hofmann has been in Germany since mid-March and will be there for another two months. He remembers watching former Maui High standout Zach Scott, who had a standout career with the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer, as a young boy.
“I really love it,” he said. “It’s been a dream of mine for years now. When I was younger I idolized Zach Scott — I went to a Sounders camp when I was really young and I talked to him a bunch. His story is just incredible. It’s just inspired me, a lot.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hugh Ward King Kekaulike Forward Senior
James Haynes Seabury Hall Forward Junior
Jenson Nakasone Kamehameha Maui Midfielder Junior
Rex Riecke King Kekaulike Midfielder Freshman
Masen Heu Kamehameha Maui Midfielder Junior
Kobie Pagan Maui High Midfielder Senior
Brasil Ruiz-Rockett Lahainaluna Defender Senior
Kainoa Carpenter Kamehameha Maui Defender Senior
Kanata Kuwahara Baldwin Defender Sophomore
Trenton Kiesel Kamehameha Maui Defender Junior
Nainoa Pascual King Kekaulike Goalkeeper Junior
Paul Spohr Maui High Utility Junior
Waikili Chappell Baldwin Utility Senior
Baldwin–Jaime Subaru Thompson, Obed Ramirez, Akila Iguchi; Kamehameha Maui–Caleb Yap-Texeira, Edward Hudcovic, Jonah Walker, Kilinahe Robinson; King Kekaulike–Rio Kovacic, James Jarman; Lahainaluna–Guiness Ruiz-Rockett; Maui High–Keito Swanson, Mason Anklam; Seabury Hall–James Notarangelo.