(KHNL) -- Natasha Kai thinks being the first local girl named to the U.S. Olympic soccer team will open the door for future Hawaii athletes.
From local soccer standout, to international soccer star, Kai is now fulfilling a lifelong dream -- by making the U.S. Olympic soccer team.
"It's awesome being able to represent our country and represent our state," said Kai, during a phone interview from Los Angeles. "It was my dream ever since I was 5-years old to play in the Olympics and I get to live it, so I'm pretty excited."
The journey has been long and tough at times. Kai burst onto the national soccer scene two years ago, making the national team. But started this year hurt and out of shape.
"It's been hard, but at the same time it's been awesome," said said. "I had a rough start from the beginning, but now I've been scoring goals, I've been doing good."
And now that the girl from Laie's shown everyone she can make it, she's expecting more local girls to join her at the next level.
"They think that because we're so far away from the mainland, that there's not that much talent there, but I completely disagree with that," said Kai.
"This is just an opportunity for me, and the younger generation of Hawaii, and it's just opening doors for them, and I'm excited for what the future has for that."
Kai is currently travelling with the U.S. Team, heading to Europe to play Sweden and Norway. Then it's back to the mainland for a couple more matches before heading to Beijing.
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