Kai stepping it up for injured teammates

Natasha Kai
Natasha Kai
Sharon Kai
Sharon Kai

By Jason Tang - bio | email

KAHUKU (KHNL)-- They lost their leading scorer to a broken leg, less than a month before the start of the Olympics, but Kahuku's Natasha Kai says the U.S. women's soccer team won't let a bad break dash their hopes for gold in Beijing.

Natasha is expected to pick up more of the scoring load for team USA, and because of what's happened to them in the past, she says they're not taking anything for granted. On her headband she has the numbers of her fallen teammates. Cat Whitehill, Leslie Osborne, and Abby Wombach.

"It sucks that we lost her. She was the leading scorer on our team, and one of the best players in the world, but we need to go to Beijing with our mindset. We just need to play for her, knowing that she's rooting for us," said Kai from her families' home in Kahuku.

Kai speaks humbly of team USA's chances in Beijing, even though many consider them the favorites after going undefeated this year, but Kai and her teammates learned a tough lesson in last year's World Cup. They went in expecting to win, and ended up third.

"They was talking about how they're gonna spend their money, you know. we're all gonna buy houses and this. That's like bachi man, and they lost," said Sharon Kai, Natasha's mother.

So without their top scorer, Kai knows it'll take a team effort to bring home the gold.

"Now that she's not here with us, it kinda puts some pressure on me, but at the same time, i'm just gonna go out and play, and do what I do best," said Kai. "When they get to the final couple rounds, the semi-finals and finals, it's not gonna be easy. I think they have what it takes to get it."

"We told Tasha don't come back unless you have the gold. It's not true. But she know I was joking," said Benny Kai, Natasha's father.

"You know i don't think you've seen the best of us yet, and hopefully it comes out at the right time," said Kai.

Team USA is 1-1 in the games so far. They face New Zealand on Monday night. A win automatically puts them in the quarterfinals.