Freshman Kelly Takara has Aiea eyeing bigger things after winning OIA D-II title

Aiea’s Kelly Takara (28) celebrated with Dylan Soberano (5) after scoring his second goal in the OIA D-II title game. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

A young team makes mistakes.

A good team learns the lesson.

During the regular season — Jan. 14 — it was mistakes that hurt Aiea in a 2-1 loss to Waipahu, which went on to finish first in the OIA West Division II standings.

Na Alii came back to beat the Marauders by the same score on Saturday night to win the OIA Division II championship at Kapolei.


“We fixed out mistakes,” freshman Kelly Takara said after his two goals, including a hang-time header on a long pass from sophomore Konner Jacang at the 71-minute mark to give Na Alii the lead for good.

The title is Aiea’s first since the 1992 and ’93 seasons, when Oscar Peltier was head coach. Current coach Kaylan Kalama and assistant coach Ben Villaflor, who oversees the program, were players who graduated from Aiea in ’94. They two were overjoyed when time expired on Saturday at Kapolei Stadium.

“Oh man, We were jumping for joy and we were hugging each other and somehow I got a cut on my lip,” Kalama said.

With a wealth of young talent, Aiea (6-6-1) had specific goals for this season. The biggest was to win the OIA D-II title. Na Alii, along with Waipahu, will compete in the upcoming state tournament. Beyond that, Aiea has dreams.

“The head of our soccer program is Ben Villaflor and Coach Ben is doing an amazing job. He has a destination, which is to build the program and make it more competitive,” Kalama said. “With that being said, yes, we do want to be in Division I. How competitive we’ll be, I’m not sure, but for us to be back in Division I, boys and girls, I think it’s great for the soccer program at Aiea High School.”

Aiea freshman Kelly Takara (28) looked for room to dribble during the second half of Na Alii’s 2-1 win over Waipahu to win the OIA D-II title. Photo by Darryl Oumi/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Takara is a big piece of the puzzle, a 5-foot-11, 230-pound playmaker with a tremendous skill set. Takara plays with the Bulls in the offseason. His first goal was a 20-yard free kick.

“My coach, I was lining up to kick it, and he told me where to aim. I just took it hoping it went in and it went in,” Takara said of his bender. “I hit it with my inside of the foot.”

The second goal was spectacular.

“Konner hit it in and I knew something needed to happen so we could take the lead. I kind of was like yelling at him to hurry up because (Waipahu) was arguing over the foul. I tried to aim down. Just tried to get it as fast as possible,” Takara said. “The last time we played them, we got a couple good balls in there, but I couldn’t finish. Today, I knew I had to meet my mark.”

Now, at least for a little while — the Queen’s Medical Center/HHSAA Boys Soccer D-II State Championships don’t begin until Feb. 13 — Na Alii can bask in the glow of success.

“When we bring the trophy back home, we know we’re bringing something that hasn’t been brought back for a long time,” Takara said. “We’ll keep training hard so when it comes to states, we’re prepared.”

Like their coaches, Na Alii have thought a bit about the future.

“Definitely, we’d like to move to D-I,” Takara said. “I’m just hoping more people come and bring back the soccer tradition at Aiea that used to be. Nowadays, it’s more Mililani and Kapolei and most of these bigger schools. I hope that us winning will get our numbers up and people will come back and represent Aiea.”

Takara plans to give his player of the game award to his mother, Meredith.

“I’ll give it to my mom because of all her dedication. She’s always driving me to practices and always being there for me,” he said.

OIA Playoffs

Updated: Feb. 1
First round
1/27Kailua* (E4)Waianae (W5)Kail, 2-0
1/27Pearl City (W3)Kahuku (E6)PC, 1-0
1/27Kalani** *E3) Radford (W6)Kaln, 3-0
1/27Campbell** (W4)Moanalua (E5)Moan, 1-0
1/28Kapolei (W1)KailuaKapo, 5-1
1/28Kalaheo*** (E2)Pearl CityKalh, 3-1
1/28Mililani**** (W2)KalaniKaln, 2-1 (PKs)
1/28Kaiser (E1)MoanaluaKais, 3-0
Consolation semifinals — At Pearl City
1/29KailuaPearl CityPC, 2-1
1/29MililaniMoanaluaMil, 4-0
Semifinals — At Kapolei
1/30KapoleiKalaheoKapo, 2-0
1/30KalaniKaiserKaln, 2-1 (OT)
Fifth place — At Aiea
1/31Pearl CityMililaniMil, 3-1
Third place — At Aiea
1/31KaiserKalaheoKais, 3-2
Championship — At Kapolei
2/1KalaniKapoleiKapo, 5-0
First round — At Aiea
1/29Aiea (W2)Farrington (E3)Aiea, 3-0
1/29McKinley (E2)Waialua (W3)McK, 2-0
Semifinals — At Castle
1/30Waipahu (W1)McKinleyWaip, 2-0
1/30Castle (E1)AieaAiea, 3-1
Third place — At Kapolei
2/1McKinleyCastleCas, 2-1 (3-2 PKs)
Championship — At Kapolei
2/1WaipahuAieaAiea, 2-1
* — @ Pearl City
** — @ Farrington
*** — @ Kapolei
**** — @ Kaiser


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