Dustin Sellers is a poster child (and adult) of the evolution of Hawaii soccer.
ProService Hawaii’s president of business development and marketing was 5 when the American Youth Soccer Organization launched its first season in the Islands in 1974.
“My parents ran an advertising agency and one of their biggest accounts was Meadow Gold Dairies,” explains Sellers. “My Dad had an idea to bring them in as primary sponsor for AYSO. He had no idea what soccer was at the time, but figured he’d better have his kid in the sport if they were going to support this thing. Everything changed for me at that point. It was a sport that perfectly fit my DNA.”
Sellers has never stopped kicking the ball. From the Honolulu Bulls Soccer Club to winning two state championships at Punahou School and being named MVP in his junior year, he left for college at the University of Southern California, where he played club soccer. He later returned to Hawaii for work and competed for the semi-pro Hawaii Tsunami. Today, at 43, he plays in the Men’s Island Soccer Organization over-35 league.
“I was still playing in the open division up until last season, but the injuries were starting to massively pile up,” he says. “Shoulder separation, nine stitches in my head, severely sprained ankle. My wife said, ‘It’s time for you to play with people your own age.’ ”
Sellers says the sport has showed him his strengths and shortcomings. “I’m a firm believer that how you are in a sporting environment is often how you are as a leader in business or any other team-based environment,” he explains. “I really expect a lot from my teammates and I actually do better when I’m playing with people who are better than me. It’s not any different from the business world.”