Soccer offseason moves

Current and former UH soccer players gathered after the 2015 alumnae game.
Current and former UH soccer players gathered after the 2015 alumnae game.

Coming off a winless season in the Big West, the Hawaii soccer team has done some serious roster overhauling.

Since UH announced a five-player signing class for 2016 (including Mililani’s Tia Furuta) back in January, coach Michele Nagamine and the Rainbow Wahine have secured the services of five more players for the fall. The crop of 10 matches the largest influx of Nagamine’s six years running the program. It’s a group she hopes can “change the culture of the program again.”

“We basically have somebody coming in at almost every position. It’s definitely one of our most talented classes that we’ve had,” Nagamine said.

“We went through a very trying season that took a big toll on everybody last year. Everyone’s very motivated to ensure we don’t have another season like the one we had last year. We spent a lot of time doing a lot of mental skills and physical transformation in the spring … to build accountability, and that’s including coaches and players.”

The latest newcomers are:

>> Addison Steiner, Sr. M/F
>> Lillie French, Fr. D/M/F
>> Evelyn Fierros, Jr. GK
>> Hannah Gardner, Fr. GK
>> Mya Torres, Fr. D

Steiner is easily the most decorated of the group, and could be one of the best players ever brought in by Nagamine. The transfer from Northwestern was a second-team All-Big Ten performer the last two years (2015: seven goals, seven assists; 2014: 10 goals, 1 assist) and had 19 total scores in three seasons for the Wildcats. After a coaching change at NU, Steiner desired a change of scenery and approached the UH staff, Nagamine said. Her most likely position at UH is up top, though she has the capacity to play midfield.

Addison Steiner, a two-time second-team All-Big Ten selection, is transferring to Hawaii. (Northwestern photo)
Addison Steiner, a two-time second-team All-Big Ten selection, is transferring to Hawaii. (Northwestern photo)

“Steiner is just flat-out good. She’s proven herself in a very competitive conference,” Nagamine said. “(She) started and played significant minutes on a very good team. … For us, I’m excited to have her come in because she’s very, very competitive. She’s a very no-nonsense, competitive player who’s going to want to compete in practice every single day, because her No. 1 thing is, ‘it’s my last year, and I want to play.’ So I like her mentality. I think it’s going to be challenging for her coming in as a senior and not really knowing anybody, but certainly everything I’ve heard about her from her coach and her opposing coaches is this kid is as tough as nails. She doesn’t like to lose and she takes her competition very seriously.”

French could be one of UH’s utility players in the fall.

“Lillie was actually going to play at Santa Clara but the financial aid there was not what they hoped it would be,” Nagamine said. “She came on a visit with her twin sister, who has decided to go to Idaho. Lillie decided to commit to us. Lillie will come in and compete for time immediately. She’s a good player, she’s technical. And she’s versatile. We look at her contributing right away, and the ability to play multiple positions, because she’s athletic and she’s pacey. … We’re looking at her as a winger.”

Two of the five players of this latest group — Fierros and Gardner — are goalkeepers, increasing UH’s stable to an unprecedented four under Nagamine. Monk Berger is the incumbent and Alexis Mata was a backup last season.

“(Assistant coach) Marc (Fournier) discovered Evelyn, he saw her play a junior college game (for Long Beach City College) in California, and he really liked her toughness. He liked the way that she kind of was a field general, controlled her back (line). She’s athletic and very hungry as well.

“Hannah Gardner is from Utah. … She’s a great student and another kid who’s just looking for an opportunity to compete. So we’re pretty excited about her coming in. I know Marc is thrilled to have four keepers because he’s going to set some pretty good standards for them.”

Lastly, Torres comes in as an outer back from a heralded squad in the De Anza 98 Elite Clubs National League team.

“She’s one of those kids that is athletic. She’s got some pace,” Nagamine said. “She’s very tiny but she basically started and played for one of the top ECL teams in the country. They were actually champions and all of their kids went D-I, I think, on scholarship. They’re a real competitive group. For Mya to come up with that kind of training … we were very lucky to snatch Mya up.”

They join the previously announced signing class of:

>> Myranda Rae Baca, Fr. D
>> Tia Futura, Fr. F
>> Mikaelah McKinney-Griggs, Fr. F
>> Sammi Walker, Fr. M/F
>> Kylie Wolfe, Fr. F


Overhauls aren’t about just the additions.

Nagamine recently confirmed what many knew or suspected: Wahine striker Kama Pascua will not be returning for her senior year after departing the team at midseason in 2015.

It’s unfortunate that things didn’t work out with the younger sibling of former Wahine standout Krystal Pascua. Her speed and finishing ability made her a threat in the Big West when she was dialed in. The former all-league honorable mention (sophomore year) and All-Freshman teamer had a goal and an assist as a junior, meaning she finished her career with 10 scores and four helpers.

Nici Lopez, an addition to the midfield last year out of California, has left the program as well. She registered two shots in 11 games played. Lopez will continue her career at HPU, Nagamine said.

Another freshman, Malissa Shadle, has moved on, too, heading back to her native California. Shadle saw 15 minutes of action last year against BYU-Hawaii. She was best known for her moves in the “dance off” with the UH football team.

Justine Olotoa, a would-be senior, has withdrawn from the team for personal reasons. The forward had some severe knee injuries but played her most meaningful action as a junior in 2015 — 15 games. That included 51 minutes in the opener against Stanford.

It should also be noted that UH is now without assistant coach Mike Herman, who was with Nagamine since she took over prior to the 2011 season. UH has a new assistant in Ashley O’Brien.


  1. Rainbor June 21, 2016 10:46 am

    Go Bows! Steiner appears exciting…

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