Women2Watch: Soccer star Kai makes game look easy

By Danielle Brown
shades Magazine

Photo credit: boydbrooks999 in Waikiki

Winning an Olympic gold medal in women’s soccer – check.

Becoming Hawaii’s first female professional soccer player  – check.

Placing Hawaii and women’s professional soccer on everyone’s radar  – check, and check.

At 27-years-old, superstar athlete Natasha Kai has a lot to check off on a very exceptional “to-do” list. As a seasoned record setter on the soccer field, Kai has become one of the top goal scorers in the Women’s Professional Soccer League and remains the all-time leading goal scorer for women’s soccer at the University of Hawaii and in the Western Athletic Conference.

Equally as stunning is the publicity and following Kai has garnered off of the field with her electrifying character. With her edgy fashion sense and sporting 40 tattoos throughout her body, the soccer icon holds yet another record – she is the most heavily tattooed player in the Women’s Professional Soccer League.

In the midst of becoming one of the most recognized women soccer players in the world, Kai’s appeal has significantly grown, partly due to a large lesbian fan base. And it’s no wonder soccer fans love her – the champion continues to enchant the world and inspire us to find out how far our own passion and discipline can take us.

Introducing Natasha Kai.

Q: How did you becoming interested in pursuing soccer professionally?

A: When I was 5-years-old, my dream was to play on the U.S. Olympic soccer team. I remember watching the Olympics and telling my dad that I was going to win a gold medal one day, and because he was my dad, he told me, ‘yeah, you can do anything you want.’ Never in a million years did I think it was possible or that I’d have the opportunity to achieve that dream … and I never let anyone stop me from believing what I could and could not do.

Q: You are the first Hawaiian national to play women’s soccer in the Olympics, let alone come out with a gold medal. How does it feel to fly the flag?

A: I think it’s awesome, not only for me, but for the whole state of Hawaii. I am just a small portion of so much talent in Hawaii and I’m just here to open doors to young kids who have big dreams and goals, but don’t necessarily come from a background that helps and pushes them to succeed.

Q: Do you do any outreach and activities with young people?

A: Yes, when I go home (Hawaii) I visit a lot of the Boys and Girls homes, you know, runaways, kids who don’t necessarily have a home or family. I go out there and tell them that there is another path, and that there is another way out there. Also, Christie’s (Christie Rampone, her coach) family is in New Jersey and her sister coaches young girls and I like to watch the corner of the field and cheer them on. I feel like it’s so hard for girls; nowadays there are so many girl soccer players and club teams that people start giving up. I’m glad to be around to help them get back on track and give them strength and hope.

Q: Have you gotten any new tattoos recently?

A: My last tattoo was probably a month or month and half ago. The majority of my tattoos have meaning – I have my family’s name on my right arm, a lot of Polynesian tribal tattoos, some lyrics, stars … they all represent different chapters and trials in my life. I promised my mom after my sixth one I would stop getting them, but 34 later, I’m still going. At the moment, I don’t have any plans of getting any, but sometimes when I’m bored I tend to go to the tattoo shop instead of going shopping.

Q: Do you have any inspiring words for young women and girls out there who aspire to be in your place one day?

A: Set your goals and dreams to the highest and do everything in your power to accomplish them. You are the only person who can control your destiny, and if you have a lot of heart and put a lot of effort to it, you will be unstoppable.

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