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On a dare from friends five years ago, U.S. women's soccer striker Natasha Kai got her first tattoo. She hasn't let up since. "I have 12," she says. "I just kept it going." Kai, 23, the first Hawaii native to play for the national team, hid her tattoos from her parents--until her mother, Sharon, saw her in a match on TV. "My shirt got pulled, revealing the one on my lower back," says Kai, who has five goals in eight international games. "She kind of freaked out and told me not to get anymore." Uh, sorry, Sharon. Kai plans to get more inkings, and she has won over one parent. Says Kai, "My dad [Benny] was like, 'Hey, you should tattoo me and your mom's names on you.' I'm all for that."
"The back design's like the Gemini sign; the inside of my arm has hibiscus flowers to represent Hawaii and California [where she lives]. This one hurt the most and took the longest--eight hours, in two sessions."
A stylized Gemini astrological sign that Kai designed. Her birthday is May 22.
Also has RESPECT on left wrist. "Sometimes I have a hard time trusting people. It's a reminder to exhibit the qualities I seek in others."
Tribal designs on each hip. "They don't have a name. It's just a design my tattoo artist picked out."
COURAGE (left shoulder blade) and LOVE (right) in kanji characters. She says, "I want to be courageous and loving in everything I do."
Her first. "My name with two sea turtles. In Hawaii they're called Aumakua. It's like your spiritual guardian. I got them outside my name to protect me."
Kai wrote the passage ("Appreciate the Memories ..."). "I was going through hard times last year [with school and a relationship]. I started writing to get out some of my frustrations."
"A design that one of my teammates and I came up with. It has TK for Tasha Kai, but with a tribal design so you can't tell it's a T and a K."