Journey to Lake Forest for Kaiser goalkeeper Kai Nishibun

Kaiser senior Kai Nishibun path to teaching will weave through the Midwest. Photo courtesy of Kai Nishibun.

Kai Nishibun plans to teach one day.

The Kaiser senior has a plan. It will take him to Lake Forest College, a campus 30 miles north of Chicago. All because of soccer.

Nishibun signed with the Foresters, who play in in the Midwest Conference of NCAA Division III. “Et veritas liberabit vos” — the truth will set you free — is the school’s motto.

“I feel way different. Something special is going on. It feels like a whole new chapter in my life, something new, and I’ve got to work harder,” Nishibun said.

Surf Soccer Club played a key role for Nishibun.

“(Lake Forest coach) Dan Andrews, we connected through the Surf Cup. I emailed him first and he emailed back,” said Nishibun, who plays for Hawaii Rush Soccer Club.

The temperature at Lake Forest, Ill., was 10 degrees on Wednesday morning. Not before sunrise, but at 9 a.m. A typical school morning.

“It might be cold. They have the right education program. I want to major in elementary education,” said Nishibun, who has a 3.5 grade-point average.

Teaching sometimes leads to coaching.

“I think I’ll do that, but I’ll focus on teaching first,” he noted.

Kaiser Coach Layne Abalos has seen Nishibun’s progress over the years.

“I have enjoyed watching Kai grow, mature and get better each year. He has developed into a great all-around goalkeeper,” Abalos said. “Brandon Yasue, our goalkeeper coach and a Kaiser alum, deserves credit in building each goalkeeper to become the best he can be. He put in a lot of his time and effort elevating Kai and all our goalkeepers, bring out the best in them.”

Winter sports were cancelled in the Oahu Interscholastic Association, but Nishibun gets his reps.

“I’m just doing small practices, getting workouts with my dad (Trent).

Lake Forest’s men’s soccer season was postponed last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foresters’ schedule in the spring season has not yet been approved.

“Our message for Kai would be to study hard, train hard, have fun playing soccer like he always has,” Abalos added. “Hopefully, he can keep warm with the cold weather he will face.”

Lockdown staples

Top 3 movies/shows

1. “The Way Back” (HBO Max)

2. “The Last Dance” (ESPN, Netflix)

3. “Soul” (Disney Plus)

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. Teri chicken, Fatboy’s (Koko Marina)

2. Strawberry banana smoothie, Jamba Juice

3. Chili and rice, Zippy’s

Top 3 music artists

1. Money Man (ft. Lil Baby) – “24”

2. Lil Baby (ft. Gucchi Mane, Offset) – “Realist In It”

3. Future

New life skill: Cooking

“I’ve been learning to cook for myself.”

Shout outs

“Coach Arian (Hoxha) at Rush, Coach Layne (Abalos) at Kaiser High School, my parents (Trent and Deeann) and siblings and friends. Let’s go!”


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