NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Former Cal State Northridge men's soccer goalkeeper Manabu Kaji is the latest alumni to make a mark in his professional soccer career, helping the Anaheim Bolts of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) to a pair of early season wins. Kaji, who competed for the Matadors in 2010 and 2011, earned his spot on the Bolts' first team after two impressive performances to start the 2012 campaign.
After only being a member of the reserve team for Anaheim going into this season, Kaji was given the starting opportunity because the team's regular starter was on duty with the U.S. National Beach Soccer Team. Kaji stepped in and helped the Bolts to a 13-5 win over Sacramento at home and made a series of point-blank saves two days later in a victory on the road against Las Vegas.
"Given that I had only played with the reserve team before, the coach gave me a huge opportunity by choosing me for the first two games of the PASL season," said Kaji, in an interview with BoltsSoccer.com. "I just tried to do my best and help the team win. I definitely had two very good games, but I wouldn't say I was completely shocked by my performances because I always try to prepare well in training and I knew I could play well if I was mentally and physically ready."
So far this season, Kaji has appeared in all three matches for the Bolts and has a record of 2-0. He has logged the most minutes of the team's three goalkeepers and has made 66 saves for a .767 save percentage.
The Anaheim Bolts compete in the Pacific Division of the PASL and play their home matches at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.