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Second Kadena Callahan will play college soccer

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 12, 2017

Make that two members of Kadena’s soccer-playing Callahan family to play at the college level.

Junta Callahan, a senior, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Valparaiso, an NCAA Division I school in northwestern Indiana playing in the Horizon League. Junta also had offers from Lafayette and Providence College.

The son of Panthers longtime head coach Mike Callahan becomes the second member of his family to play at the D-I level. Yuji Callahan three years ago committed to Holy Cross of the Patriot League.

Junta registered 27 total goals and 14 assists in his freshmen and sophomore years as a midfielder for Kadena, then focused on training with his Okinawan men’s club team during his junior year. He will return to the Panthers for his senior season.

Crusaders coach Mike Avery said Valparaiso and the Callahans came into contact with each other through another former Panther, Nathan LaGrave, Class of 2004. LaGrave played at Bucknell and then professionally in Germany before an injury cut his career short, then did some post-graduate study at Valparaiso.

“There are three areas that we must find when we are looking at any new recruit: character, soccer ability and academic potential,” Avery said. “Junta has all three areas covered and we are very excited that he will be joining our program in August.”

Callahan becomes the second DODEA-Pacific athlete to commit to playing college sports this year. Christian Sonnenberg of Yokota signed a letter of acceptance in January to throw discus and shot for Utah State.

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