Tuesday 20 November 2018, 22:07

Sunshine Fontes, Hawaii's pioneer on the global stage

  • Sunshine Fontes is USA's all-time top goalscorer at U-17 level

  • She's the first Hawaiian to play at a youth World Cup for USA

  • FIFA.com spoke with her ahead of crucial Germany match

“I took Ukelele class in seventh and eighth grade and I used to play the ukelele when I was six-years-old until I was ten.”

USA forward Sunshine Fontes will tell you that having to sing a Bruno Mars song in front of her Ukelele class is scarier than playing at her first World Cup.

Her statistics would back that claim up because donning the national team shirt does not seem to have frightened her for one second.

She’s the USA’s all-time top scorer for the U-17 women’s national team with 24 goals and she’s the most experienced player on the roster.

Her importance for the team can’t be understated. 2018 has been the year of Sunshine Fontes for the U-17 USA team. She began the calendar year by scoring four goals in an 8-0 win over Venezuela and then putting in another four against Argentina the next month.

Sunshine, named after a surfer her mother knew in high school, was then pivotal in getting the Stars and Stripes to Uruguay 2018, scoring five goals during the CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship and scoring twice in USA’s come-from-behind victory over Haiti that sealed their place at the world finals.

She’s making headlines back home for her performances but she’s making history for another reason as well. “Being from Hawaii, there’s not too many players that come out of there,” Fontes said to FIFA.com.

She’s right. In fact, Fontes is the first Hawaiian to represent any USA national team at a youth World Cup.

“Being able to represent the state and obviously my family is really exciting,” she said. For someone as ruthless as she is in front of goal, Fontes cuts a different figure outside of matchday. Her default personality mode is laid back and the majority of the time she wears an infectious smile.

Fontes has committed to attend the University of California, Los Angeles in the fall of 2019, a decision to leave home and carve her own path.

“Once I started getting called into the national team and representing the crest, I realised I could represent myself and my hometown anywhere I went,” Fontes said in a video produced by US Soccer. “It didn’t just have to be in Hawaii.”

She’s already represented her hometown of Wahiawa with two goals at Uruguay 2018 but all signs point to her doing so wearing the USA crest for many years to come.