BY KYLE MCDANIEL
Sophomore and team captain Hugo Kametani helped the Aztecs this season record their best regular season in team history. He finished the regular season with 22 goals and 5 assists. He also was recently awarded the ACCAC/Region 1 Player of the Year award and was selected first team All-ACCAC/NJCAA Region I. Since he is playing like the world is on fire I felt it would be great to get his story and get to know him.
He is from Kashima, Japan which is a coastal city roughly in the middle of the country, and is roughly 57 miles from Tokyo. Which of course means his favorite soccer team is the Kashima Antlers, who play in the J-League, which is Japan’s top division. They are also one of the most successful teams in Japan’s history.
Japan is quite a distance from Tucson, but when you’re looking to play soccer collegiately, you’ll go where you’re wanted.
“I reached out to the coaching staff with my highlight film and agent,” he said. This has worked out well for the Aztecs as he has been playing excellent.
Of course when you have a successful program year after year, it will help draw the talent to the college. When asked if he is enjoying his time playing for the Aztecs, he stated “Yes, because Pima has a long and successful history of winning, and I enjoy winning.”
With Pima having a chance to win the national title, it was great to hear what he thought about the team and coach. “I think the team is playing well together and the players have a lot of heart, that helps us push each other and find a way to win every game,” he said.
“What about coach?” I asked. “Coach Cosgrove has a great history of winning and has had a successful career as a coach, he constantly pushes all of us to play at our best,” he said.
The Aztecs have two other players from Japan on the team, which could help the transition to American life easier. “Yes, it helped because we are all able to communicate with each other on and off the field,” he said.
I’ve seen first hand how having family or others from your nation with you in America help with the transition, as my friend from Sudan had his mom and brother.
Like many who play a sport, they either want to go pro, coach or do something that involves sports like journalism. The same goes for Hugo as he wants to be a coach after his playing days are over.
Since he is a sophomore I asked him, how long to you plan to be in Tucson?
His reply “I plan on staying in Tucson maybe one more year and graduate from Pima, the transfer to play soccer at a University,”
The final question had to be what do you like about Tucson and Pima, and do you enjoy living in Tucson?
He responded with an answer that I expected, “I enjoy living in Tucson, and the soccer here is great, all around I like it.”
Hugo is only one piece of the team, but he is a big piece and let’s hope he can help lead the Aztecs to a national title. When you talk to him, you can tell he genuinely loves the game and wants to do anything to win. Not many players have the heart and work ethic he has.