There’s no doubt that King Kekaulike High School’s football programs – boys and girls – are family affairs in many ways.
The Na Alii boys may have lost Bailey Hofmann at age 16, but if he’s 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 – two huge ones in the state tournament – and compiled 12 assists.
“It’s an amazing experience, I mean I’ve worked hard since pre-season, and I can’t take all the credit for it because King K is like family,” said Hoffman. “We 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 working in Germany with a former Bayern Munich player in hopes of landing a place at a Bundesliga team academy, a rare move for a current MIL player, if it has ever happened.
He took a state championship t-shirt with him to Munich.
“I still can’t believe it, just because of the team we had, but it was pretty cool that we made it,” said Hoffman.
Hofmann is joined in the MIL first team by Na Alii teammates Owen Riecke (midfielder), Jai Sternhall (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 Kayden Medeiros of Kamehameha Maui (forward).
Hofmann guided Na Alii to the third Hawaii High School Athletic Association state team title in school history, to go along with the 2004 co-ed paddle crown and 2006 Division II state football championship .
“We just show how Na Alii has improved in football and we show what King K has,” said Hoffman.
Co-head coaches Aaron Hamamura and Tye Perdido are their peers’ picks as The Maui News MIL Coach of the Year. Hamamura was quick to pay tribute to assistant coaches Barry McKay, Mario Jimenez, Noah Walin and Ryan Arakawa.
“This staff is so awesome, there’s no ego, no one cares about the spotlight, who gets credit for what, none of that – it’s just 100% laser focused on development and the improvement of boys”, Hamamura said.
Hofmann is a key example.
“Bailey is definitely a special player” Hamamura said. “I can’t say enough good things about this kid. I don’t know if anyone has done this of the MIL before. That’s great, it’s just going to help future MIL players, pave the way for them, and let them know it’s possible.
The family aspect also touches the coaching staff – coaches Samantha Perdido and Larissa Jimenez are married to staff coaches, and fellow coach Cameron Smith is also a key part of the program.
The public announcer for boys’ and girls’ football games at King Kekaulike Stadium is Duane Hamamura, father of Aaron Hamamura. Na Alii’s tallying team is made up of fathers of former school players and has been together for more than two decades.
“Especially because of King K’s team of announcers, in my opinion, our home field advantage because of this is unmatched,” said Aaron Hamamura.
Aaron Hamamura was quick to credit coaching youngsters in Maui for developing their roster, which could be great 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 DI Boys football state crown won for any MIL team – the Baldwin boys shared the crown with Hawaii Prep in 2018, the first time Neighbor Island teams have won a DI Boys title in sports. This match was interrupted late in the proceedings in a 1-1 draw due to lightning in the area.
Hofmann explained his trip to Germany, which came 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, pro teams here in Germany,” said Hoffman. “If they like me, they can sign me, they can talk to me. I train with an ex-Bayern Munich player and training is just unreal here. It’s all individual, all technical and all that. that I dreamed of.
Hofmann holds German and American passports – his father is a German citizen, his mother is an American citizen. He is the youngest player in his current camp, aged five.
“My parents were really supportive to take me to the next level of football and they found this agency which is in Germany and they were really excited because I’m part German and I have a German passport which makes it easier recruitment. “, said Hoffman. “I feel that I’m doing very well, I’m improving every day. I feel like my dribbling and shooting are on point, so when I come back I can show what I learned.
Hofmann has been in Germany since mid-March and will stay there for another two months. He remembers watching former Maui High player Zach Scott, who had a stellar career with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders as a young boy.
“I really like,” 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 talked to him a lot. His story is just amazing. It inspired me a lot.
*Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
Hugh Ward King Kekaulike Senior Forward
James Haynes Seabury Hall Junior Forward
Jenson Nakasone Kamehameha Maui Junior Midfielder
Rex Riecke King Kekaulike Freshman Midfielder
Masen Heu Kamehameha Maui Junior Midfielder
Kobie Pagan Maui Senior Midfielder
Brasil Ruiz-Rockett Lahainaluna Senior Defender
Kainoa Carpenter Kamehameha Maui Main Defender
Kanata Kuwahara Baldwin Second Year Defenseman
Trenton Kiesel Kamehameha Maui Junior Defender
Nainoa Pascual King Kekaulike Guardian Junior
Paul Spohr Maui High Utility Junior
Waikili Chappell Baldwin Senior Utility