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HPU soccer team rebuilds itself

by Jimmi Hemmenbach, staff writer

Another season is about to start for the HPU White and Green soccer teams. Last season was a success for both of them. The White team had a perfect regular season with 14 straight wins. The Green team finished 10-2-2 and qualified for the play-offs, but since the majority of the players went back home for the summer, both teams had to withdraw from the spring playoffs. This fall, veterans from last semester’s two teams organized the HPU White team, coached by Jose “Pepe” Ballina. All the newcomers formed the HPU Green team, whose coach Scott Liedtke is optimistic about the fall season. “It’s looking better than expected,” Liedtke said. “This is definitely one of the best incoming groups overall.”


Liedtke has recruited a good mix of young and experienced players. Two who are likely to dominate play are center fullbacks Björn Lidman and Anthony Giralmo.

“ They are already complementing each other very well on the field,” Liedtke said.“They are two solid players that will help our team a lot.”

A 26-year-old graduate business student, Lidman transferred from Wilmington College, Ohio, where he played NCAA for four years. While there he was chosen All-American one year, and All-Regional for four consecutive years. Giralmo, is a 21-year old freshman who comes from Green River Community College in Washington state.

Other players who deserve to be mentioned are Swedes Daniel Hook and Christopher Zachrison, both center midfielders. They are freshmen and have both chosen business as their major. Although young, 20 and 21 years old, respectively, they bring some experience from the Swedish amateur leagues.

The Green team also has a former HPU player making a comeback, the skilled Bulgarian, Iovo Stefanov, a 27-year-old graduate student returning to Hawai‘i from a season as a professional soccer player with the Wilmington Hammerheads.

HPU students are allowed professional soccer experience, since the soccer program is not affiliated with the NCAA. The HPU teams are competing in the MISO league (Men’s Island Soccer Organization) here on O‘ahu. There are two divisions, and both HPU teams play in the first division with 10 other teams.

The White team will, of course, try to repeat last season’s results, but it is going to be hard for them, or for any other team, to repeat a perfect season. Liedtke said: “The White team raised the bar for the other teams to compete against.”

Both teams play each other every Friday in scrimmage at the Hawai‘i Loa campus. “Playing against an opponent that strong every week will benefit both teams,” Liedtke said.

“ No matter who wins the scrimmage”, he added, “It will always make both teams prepared for Sunday’s game. Our main goal this season should be finishing first and second in the league,” Liedtke added.


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