HPA student, Xander Lai ’20, is taking holiday spirit to the community and beyond by working with Project Hawai'i to help 100 homeless teens on Hawai'i Island. Click the red link above to learn more!
Soccer - Boys
Soccer at HPA: A November Practice
It’s 4:00 pm, an hour after school, and twenty young men finish their Senior captains’ led warm-up drills. The real leader of the day, however, is a sophomore wearing a black shirt, contrasting his teammates grays. His shirt was earned the previous practice for being the hardest working player that day.
The young player leads his team in footwork, individual ball work, and then into 3 vs 3 games. While seniors have led warm-ups, the younger student has led small sided games, and the keepers have trained with a specialized trainer, the head coach has simply watched, trusting the team to stretch itself. The team boasts starters from every grade level, players from eight countries, and leadership at every level.
This year, a focused determination, just like the misty Waimea rain now rolling in, soaks their practice shirts. The team has high, but specific goals, and each one starts with the day’s practice. The practice pitch is where form is perfected and bonds strengthened. This is where Head Coach Richard Braithwaite is in his prime, leading and building capacity within his team captains. This where men are made.
After an hour of mixed tactical training and full sided play, the boys jog in at senior Justin Perry’s ‘16 command. They cool down and stretch, listening to Justin explain the importance of sleep and good food before tomorrow’s big game.
HPA’s soccer team is marked by the awareness of what they want, how to get it, and how to enjoy themselves as they work towards daily, specific goals. They are a team, led by everyone.
head COACH - Richard Braithwaite
There is commitment to a sport and there is Commitment to a sport. It’s fair to say that boys soccer coach Richard Braithwaite is a believer in commitment with a capital C. A player since age seven, a standout player in high school and at Oberlin College, and a former player with the professional development team the Toledo Slayers, Braithwaite actually scheduled a soccer match as part of his wedding reception.
Soccer players see nothing unusual in this single-minded pursuit of perfection on the pitch. At HPA, Braithwaite and his four assistant coaches work long practices in developing raw talent and refining developed talent. With players hailing from all over the world, the mix is good, Braithwaite says.
HPA’s boys soccer team has advanced to the state Division II tournament in four of the past six years. In 2013, Ka Makani took fifth overall after a double-overtime semifinal heartbreaker against the eventual state champion.
As the head of the English department, Braithwaite applies his classroom communication skills on the pitch. The lessons learned from the 2013 season finale were powerful.
“Students need to know that no one wins every time. You’re going to lose a lot in your life. And you need to be able to see beyond that.”
A major part of that growth comes from a player’s full realization that he is part of a team in the sense that “when you see your peers are working their hardest, you do too. As a player you pick up on that.”
Before arriving at HPA two years ago, Braithwaite taught English and coached soccer at a private school in Bulgaria. This international experience is an aid in coaching HPA’s multi-cultural soccer team.
“Communication is everything,” Braithwaite says. “In the classroom, on the field, in life.”
Assistant Coach - Maik Brandt
Maik joined the Ka Makani coaching staff in August of 2017 after finishing two very successful seasons with a winning record of 35-5-2 as an Assistant Men's Soccer Coach for the nationally ranked "Mustangs" at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.
As a native German and former professional soccer player, he coached the newly promoted Division 2 team to its first Division 1 State Championship title in the history of the school. His experience and commitment to the sport of soccer and people helped to achieve peak performance throughout the team. "Coaching soccer to the boys not only on the technical and tactical level but also so mentally was key" Brandt says. "My focus for this short period of time was to create leaders of self and empower each player with tools to get what they are after on and off the field, and they applied it."
Brandt finished his academic career with two Summa Cum Laude degrees in Business Administration from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and Midwestern State University. He currently holds the Class B Coaching License with the Deutscher Fußballbund (DFB), which is equivalent to the UEFA-B or the U.S. Soccer Coaching Department National B License.