TK 32

inspiring generations

The Story behind

Natasha Kai

My Life, My Career, My World…

A native of Kahuku, Kai attended the University of Hawaii and was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year on three occasions, the first person to ever receive that distinction. She completed her college career with 162 points on 72 goals in 73 matches. Her point and goal marks were second best in WAC history.

Upon finishing her collegiate career, Kai was called up to the senior U.S. Women’s National Team (U.S. WNT) after playing in the U-21 program over the previous two years. She made her debut in the 2006 Algarve Cup, scoring goals in each of her first two matches with the senior national team. She was just the fourth player in U.S. WNT history to accomplish that feat. She was also a member of the U.S. WNT in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, and she scored the game-winner in extra time of a quarterfinal match over Canada in the 2008 Olympics. The U.S. WNT then proceeded to win the Gold Medal in those Olympic Games. Over four years on the senior national team, Kai registered 24 goals and 13 assists in 67 matches. During that span, the U.S. WNT compiled a record of 57-1-9.

Kai, 32, started her professional club career with Sky Blue FC after being allocated to the New Jersey side in the 2009 U.S. WNT allocation for Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS).

During that inaugural campaign, Kai tallied six goals and one assist during the regular season before scoring a goal in the quarterfinal round of the WPS Playoffs to help Sky Blue FC past the Washington Freedom. She also served up the game-winning assist a week later when Sky Blue FC defeated the Los Angeles Sol to win the 2009 WPS Championship.

In the 2010 season, Kai scored another five goals in 19 appearances for Sky Blue FC. She then competed for the Philadelphia Independence in 2011, recording 10 goals in 19 matches, which was just a single tally short of the league lead. Kai then notched another goal in the 2011 WPS Semifinals to help Philadelphia past magicJack SC. The Independence eventually fell to the Western New York Flash in the 2011 WPS Championship game on penalty kicks, Kai’s second championship match appearance in three years.

Kai recently returned to Sky Blue FC prior to the start of the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season after spending some time away from the game, and she has instantly impacted the team. In her first game back, the Hawaii native netted the game-opening goal in a road match against Seattle Reign FC, helping Sky Blue FC end a two-plus year unbeaten streak by Seattle at Memorial Stadium.

If SOCCER be the food of love, play on…

playing career

2004

  • Her goal against the Matilda’s came in a 2-0 win at the Peace Cup in South Korea …
  • Youth National Teams: First brought in with the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team in 2004, and was the leading scorer on the team with 12 goals, including six in international matches
  • Helped lead the U-21s to the Nordic Cup title in Iceland, scoring three goals in the tournament including two against Germany
  • Injured her shoulder in her final college game of 2004, then re-injured it again in her first U-21 camp of 2005, requiring surgery, and did not get called into a U-21 camp again until January of 2006

 

2006

  • First Appearance: March 11, 2006, vs. Denmark
  • First Goal: March 11, 2006, vs. Denmark
  • Played in 17 games in her first year on the national team, starting four …
  • Scored six goals, including two at the 2006 Algarve Cup … She also scored against Japan, Ireland, Canada and Australia
  • Called into her first training camp with the Women’s National Team in February of 2006 …
  • Made her debut at the 2006 Algarve Cup in Portugal, scoring in her first two games against Denmark and France, both as a substitute
  • Became the fourth player in U.S. WNT history to score in her first two caps …
  • Scored four goals in her first seven WNT matches, including the winner in a 1-0 victory against Japan on May 9, 2006
  • Became the first-ever player from Hawaii to play for the WNT and to make a FIFA Women’s World Cup Team
  • Had major shoulder surgery in the fall

2007

  • Played in 18 games, starting four
  • Scored two goals with three assists during the year
  • One of her goals came in a 2-0 win against China at the Four Nations Tournament, giving the USA the tournament title
  • Was one of the final three players chosen to the 2007 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team
  • Saw brief action in three Women’s World Cup matches

 

2008

  • Had her best scoring year with the WNT, leading the team with 15 goals
  • Played in 28 games, starting 20
  • Scored a goal for every 106 minutes she was on the field
  • Scored one of the most important goals in U.S. history when her diving header defeated Canada, 2-1, in the Olympic quarterfinal match
  • Played in six matches at the Olympics, five of them off the bench
  • Scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory against Brazil in the final pre-Olympic match …
  • Scored against Denmark in the championship game of the 2008 Algarve Cup
  • Scored four goals in Olympic qualifying, two against Mexico in front of a sell-out crowd in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and two more against Costa Rica in the victory that qualified the USA for the 2008 Olympics
  • Notched her first career hat trick in a 6-0 win against Canada on May 10 in Washington, D.C.

 

2009

  • Played in four games, starting two, and scored one goal, which was one of the best of the year and the best of her career, coming in the final minute of a 1-0 victory against Iceland at the Algarve Cup