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Football group breaks ground for additional pitch

GOVERNOR Ralph DLG Torres and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association President Jerry Tan on Saturday hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the NMI Soccer Training Center’s expansion project in Koblerville.

“In all my wildest dreams, I never thought I would see this day — with two beautiful pitches and one more on the way,” said NMIFA executive committee member and youth committee chair Vicky Izuka.

She said from 120 soccer players the island now has 1,000 footballers, adding that the sport has grown tremendously.

With the expansion of the soccer facility, there will be more playing and training opportunities not just for the youth, but for soccer moms and dads and sports tourism as well.

In his remarks, Tan said with the current two pitches, “we actually have a lot of limitations.”

He noted that most of the players either work or go to school and can only play after 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.

“Lights have been put up on both the main and mini pitches but we still don’t have enough capacity. This is why building an additional pitch is very important. Because it is our intention to continue to expand,” he added.

“All we know is that we want to do our best to develop the program for our children.”

Tan said with the help of Governor Torres, NMIFA was able to secure land for the additional pitch.

“If we give you the opportunity and resources and you take that to the next level, you are not just representing your family, you are representing the people of the CNMI and the organization,” the governor said in his remarks.

Soccer games used to be played at American Memorial Park. As NMIFA started to grow, games were held at different schools and were eventually “centralized” at Hopwood Middle School and San Antonio Elementary School.

In 2016, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Koblerville, and this was followed by the official inauguration of the NMI Soccer Training Center two years later.

NMIFA would like to recognize and thank its executive committee members, the governor’s office, soccer clubs, the Northern Marianas Sports Association, the Public School System, the media, and sponsors Tan Siu Lin Foundation, Triple J Motors, D&Q Saipan Co. Ltd., TakeCare, Marianas Pacific, IT&E, Docomo Pacific, Pacific Trading Co., Micronesian Brokers, Kanoa Resort, Marianas Visitors Authority, as well as the parents and players.

Published by Marianas Variety - Mar 7, 2022


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