With a lifelong dream to become a NFL player, seventh grader Yosei Takahashi came to Laie from Japan in July 2017 to brush up his football skills at Kahuku High and Intermediate School.
Ryosei started playing football when he was in fourth grade because of the influence of his father, a football coach. Every year consecutively from fourth to sixth grade, he received his team’s MVP award and was the youngest member of the team. In sixth grade, his team won a tournament.
Both of his parents have a background in football, but they never forced him to pursue it as either a hobby or career. He said, “They just told me I could do whatever I want to.”
Although he tried many other sports such as baseball, basketball, and rugby, he said he knew in his heart he was going to choose football.
He chose to come to Hawaii over other states because his dad already had a connection from his previous football career; Takahashi’s dad’s previous teammate’s sister, who is living in Hawaii, told them that school in Hawaii is relatively strong for football, which led him to selecting Kahuku.
Takahashi said one of his inspirations is Andrew Luck, the quarterback for the Colts. He was given the chance to meet Luck through his dad’s football connections. He said, “My dad was close with the coach of Andrew Luck, so we had a chance to be really close to him. And I had a chance to see him taking care of his football equipment really well, which touched me.”
Asked what kind of a football player he wants to be, Takahashi said, “I’d like to become the person who cares about people in my team.”
The thing he likes most about football is scoring a touchdown. Asked about his strengths, he said speed and catching can be the key to standing out among other competitors. When it comes to his weaknesses, he acknowledged he needs to work on his language skills and shyness in order to better communicate with his teammates.
Aside from football, he likes spending his time playing basketball and watching football games to analyze players’ performances.
Since coming to Hawaii, Takahashi said he has come to love local foods like L&L barbecue chicken. A non-member, he also started attending church with his friend. He has read some of the Book of Mormon and knows how to pray. He said, “Vocabularies in the Gospel are hard though.”
Takahashi was staying with student couple Arkhe and Yui Pacis in TVA during the Fall 2017 Semester but has moved out since the interview was conducted. He plans to go back to Japan to graduate from junior school, then return to Hawaii to graduate from high school. He will be playing on an all-star team in a February tournament taking place in Hawaii.