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Third Callahan sibling signs to play college soccer

By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 18, 2019

Reina Callahan, a senior at Kadena High School, last week signed at National Letter of Intent to play soccer at NCAA Division I Manhattan College.

The center-midfielder becomes the third member of her family to join a college soccer program. The eldest brother, Yuji, played four seasons at Holy Cross (Mass., Class of 2018) and the middle brother, Junta, is in his junior season at Valparaiso (Ind).

According to her father Michael, formerly the Kadena boys varsity coach, Reina trains year-round with her club team off base “and often returns home each night after 10 p.m., eats dinner, then finishes homework before arising at 5:30 a.m. to start all over again. She is the definition of perseverance and determination to succeed on all fronts.”

Callahan had eight goals and nine assists in her junior season last spring, leading the Panthers to a 21-3-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Far East Division I Tournament.

The Jaspers compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. They went 4-11-2 overall and 3-5-2 in conference.

Callahan is one of several Kadena graduates who have moved on to the next level, the most recent one Adrianna Gomez, Class of 2018, who now plays for NCAA Division II Saint Michaels (Vt.).

The Pacific’s two top career and single-season goal-scoring record holders, sisters Dianne Abel (178 career, Kadena class of 2006) and Jen Abel (192 career, Kadena Class of 2007) also played D-I soccer, Dianne at Winthrop (S.C.) and West Florida and Jen also at West Florida before joining the Marine Corps. Dianne is now a Navy officer assigned to Kadena.

“It’s difficult for overseas students to have opportunities like those in the States,” Callahan said, “but if you try to make those opportunities, you can have the same chance as those students. I’m very excited. I kind of want to go now.”

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