Joshua Ishizaka lined up his options, and each of them required a trek across the Pacific Ocean.
The Mililani senior signed with Bushnell University in Eugene, Ore., where he will continue his soccer career.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity, and blessed that so many people are supporting me in my future in college,” Ishizaka said.
Ishizaka also had opportunities at Multnomah (Portland, Ore.), Blue Mountain Community College (Pendleton, Ore.) and York College (Neb.).
“Bushnell was the best choice because I have a great relationship with Coach Eric (Carrazco). We first connected over email and I’ve been in contact with him for over a year,” Ishizaka said. “They have a very good business program. That’s what attracted me to the university. It’s a smaller university, but it’s also next to the University of Oregon, so you get that campus feel.”
He has a 3.8 grade-point average and already has a plan beyond college.
“My vision is to one day come back to the islands and get into the culinary field after I get my degree. Set up a small restaurant. That’s my main goal,” Ishizaka said. “That would be a goal for me if I could own several businesses.”
Mililani Coach Steve McGehee is stoked for his senior.
“Josh overall was one of our standout players. He’s been a four-year varsity player and starter. His roommate is one of his roommates from last year, Kyle Foss. They’ve been buddies forever,” McGehee said. “He would’ve been our returning captain. He earned everything he has and is a hard worker.”
Foss and Ishizaki helped Mililani reach the state final in 2020.
Ishizaki, a center back, played for Hawaii Rush Soccer Club for a half-dozen years.
“He is probably one of the best natural-born leaders I’ve ever coached, doing the right time at the right time. Putting in the hard work when nobody’s looking. And he pushes his whole team to get better,” Rush Coach Travis Watanabe said. “Do I think he could have played at a bigger school? Probably, but he chose the school that best fit him. No. 1 is education. If that fits, then everything else falls in place.”
Coach McGehee has mixed emotions about the circumstances, especially his seniors.
“It’s unfortunate for all the high school kids the way it turned out. I felt bad for last year’s graduating class. This year’s class, I feel 10 times worse. I wish the best for him. He’s a really good young man,” he said.
Ishizaka won’t be the only islander in Bushnell sports. Preston Ferry and Ethan Ferry of Christian Academy is a defender/forward on the soccer squad. The recently revived baseball program recruited Shaydan Lovediro of Kamehameha. Ishizaka attended Pearl Harbor Christian Academy with the Ferry brothers during middle school.
Top 3 movies/shows
1. “Hacksaw Ridge”
2. “I Can Only Imagine”
3. “Last Samurai”
Top 3 food/snack/drink
“Pepperoni pizza with butter garlic crush from Papa John’s.”
2. Chicken bakes
“Chicken bakes are from Costco.”
3. Lays Stacks
Top 3 music artists
1. Mercy Me – “I Can Only Imagine”
2. Tauren Wells – “Hills and Valleys”
3. Hillsong UNITED – “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
New life skill: Sewing and mending clothes
“Shout out to (Mililani soccer coach) Steve McGehee, my parents Kyle and Chris Ishizaka, (Rush Soccer Club coach) Travis Watanabe and my grandparents, Laverne and Francis Behic, and Sharon and Kenneth Ishizaka.”