Hanalani scholar-athlete Leah Kakigi follows siblings to Biola

Chris Kakigi is proud of his scholar-athlete daughter, Leah. Photo courtesy of Leah Kakigi.

Biola University has a pipeline to the Kakigi household.

Hanalani/Pac-Five soccer player Leah Kakigi is the latest member of the family to enroll at the Los Angeles-based university.

“I feel good. I feel excited. I’ve always wanted to go there since I was little because my brother (Sean) and sister (Kelly) went there,” Leah Kakigi said. “I went to a soccer camp there one summer ago.”

Until deciding on Biola, Kakigi had other options in mind: Concordia and Point Loma.

“I was originally committed to Point Loma, and Biola called. I tried to reach Biola before, but for some reason, they weren’t answering. I know they have spots for the seniors since they didn’t have a season,” said Kakigi, who has a 4.0 grade-point average. “I think Biola mostly saw me through the camp, and I sent them a video, too.”

Sharon Kakigi, right, enjoyed daughter Leah’s signing day. Photo courtesy of Leah Kakigi.

Pac-Five, like soccer teams across the state, didn’t have a high school season. Kakigi, a wing, and her teammates were grounded.

“I’m OK with that. I would rather play club than high school,” said Kakigi, who plays for Hawaii Rush. “The other year, we traveled twice, once in March and another time in July.”

Hawaii Rush Coach Brent Murakami has seen many Rush players venture to college.

“Leah is such a nice person, always smiling. She’s deceiving as she smiles when she runs by players,” he said. “She has speed and the ability to get behind defenders and score goals. If she’s not scoring, she’s getting down the flank and servicing balls in. She has improved tactically and has improved her understanding of the movements of the game both when on the ball and off.”

Soccer has been a way of life for Kakigi for a decade-plus.

“I’ve played soccer ever since I was 6, so not being able to play with my club team and go traveling all together has really been sad, especially since it’s our last season together. We’re such tight-knit group,” she said. “In regards to high school sports, I just hope that we can slowly bring them back and all stay safe while doing it so that the class of 2022 has a chance to play in their senior season.”

Lockdown staples

Top 3 movies/shows

1. “The Vampire Diaries” (Netflix)

2. “Gilmore Girls” (Netflix)

3. “The Star” (Vudu)

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. Chicken parmesan

“From anywhere.”

2. Chicken pizza, Pieology

3. Acai bowl with peanut butter, Banzai Bowls

Top 3 music artists

1. Lauren Daigle – “You Say”

2. Ariana Grande – “POV”

3. Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”

New life skill: Drawing

Shout outs

“Thank you to my parents (Sharon and Chris Kakigi), Hawaii Rush teammates, Coach Brent (Murakami) and the rest of my family and friends.”


  1. Mondo February 18, 2021 9:51 am

    Congratulations Leah and to the Kakigi Ohana! What a blessing!

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