KAHULUI - Brent Nunes has run the gamut of success while with Maui United Soccer Club.
His track record has earned the club's director of coaching a spot with the Olympic Development Program - he left Tuesday for McMinnville, Ore., and will be the first Maui coach, and only the third from Hawaii, to take part in a Region IV camp for 14- and 15-year-olds.
"I'm really excited, this is something I have been dreaming about for years, actually when I played ODP," the 30-year-old Nunes said Monday after a Maui United practice at Kahului Community Center. "Being at region camp, I always thought, 'This would be cool to be part of the coaching staff that gets called in, travels, works with some of the country's best players, and identifying hopeful future Olympians.' "
The weeklong camp at Linfield College will send 18 players, out of more than 200 invitees, to the national camp.
"It will be great working with college Division I professional coaches, but truthfully it is a reflection
on how hard Maui United's staff, coaches and administrative - the people behind the scenes - how hard we at Maui United are working," he said. "Because without them, I would never have been recognized or given this opportunity."
The other Hawaii coaches to participate in a regional camp were Phil Nedo and Sean Richardson of Oahu.
"I'm extremely humbled," said Nunes, whose club comprises 16 teams and more than 200 players.
"Just last week I was working with (Maui High School graduate) Zach Scott and the (Seattle) Sounders," he said. "To see the drills that they are doing, like Hope Solo, who we got to watch train over at Starfire Complex in Seattle, it is awesome to be able to soak up this type of knowledge.
"My love and passion is to help develop the sport here on Maui, not just for Maui United, but for all kids, to educate the players and train them on a daily basis, on a weekly basis the best that we can do as coaches. Just pass it on to the kids, the future soccer players on the island."
Nunes, a Baldwin graduate, played one season at Menlo (Calif.) College and a spring season at Oregon State.
His younger brother Blake Nunes, a former all-conference player for Sacramento State who now coaches for Maui United, knows what the ODP camp trip can do for players on the Valley Isle.
"I think this is a big start to getting Maui soccer up to the level of the kids on the Mainland are at," Blake Nunes said. "It just shows the hard work that he puts in every day. It is paying off, he is getting kids out to the Mainland, showcase tournaments, getting them exposed to the recruiters. That is what it is about. His knowledge for the sport is unlimited, he studies the game, he watches soccer nonstop."
Region IV covers 13 states, and Nunes was chosen from a pool of more than 60 applicants.
"We are all very proud of Brent and his getting this opportunity to work on the regional coaching staff level," said Maui United founder Fred Guzman, who coached Nunes at Baldwin. "It really benefits our club because it enables him to network with college coaches and down the road it will open up opportunities for our kids. On a personal level, it is very gratifying to see someone you coached on the high school and youth levels who shares your passion for the sport now coming back and give back to his club and our community."
Nunes said that his experience is ultimately for the players.
"There are a lot more opportunities out there right now," he said. "With all the (Major League Soccer) teams starting academies now, farm systems just like baseball there are just a lot more chances for the kids where these college and professional coaches are there recruiting and identifying future standout players."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org