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NMI men’s national soccer teams train in Philippines

SINCE the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association rarely had the chance to send local teams to training camps and international competitions.

Recently, NMIFA sent two teams — men’s U17 and U19 — to one of their football association friends in the Philippines, the Tuloy Foundation, which is conducting a training camp in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila from July 29 to August 12.

“It’s been three years since we last trained with Tuloy Foundation — finally, we could train with them again,” said NM Coach Michiteru Mita.

The NMI teams are preparing for the Asian Football Confederation’s U17/U20 tournaments to be held later this year, but Mita said the NMI players will also learn life skills by performing activities and community services with the Tuloy Foundation, a charitable organization focused on the marginalized youth. “Tuloy” is the Filipino word for “continue.”

Mita said the Filipino camp participants are not only good soccer players, but are also very well educated and independent, even though they have “very difficult backgrounds.”

“They have very important skills for soccer players because soccer is a decision-making sport, so you have to be independent and able to communicate well which is also important for the team,” Mita said.

“We try to develop our players to be tough and independent before they compete in the AFC U17/ U20 tournaments,” he added.

The NMI U17 national team members who have joined the training camp in the Philippines are Noelan Ngewakl, Mark Costales, Tyler Omelau, Zhi Xiang Lin, Wataru Kadokura, Monico Claridades, Jonne Navarro, Miles Linde, Ruben Guerrero, Anthony Austria, Cody Shimizu, Markus Toves, Anthony Bergancia, Mark Chavez, and Vicente Reyes.

They will compete in the 2023 AFC U17 Asian Cup Qualifier which will be held from October 5 to 9 in Australia. They are in Group G where they will go up against Australia, China, and Cambodia.

As for the U19 national team members, they are Daniel Mar Pablo, Brian Lubao, Jerald Aquino, Merrick Toves, Akira Kadokura, Taka Borja, Brandon Tenorio, Jason Quimzon, and Reginald Pascual.

They are preparing for the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup Qualifier which will be held from September 10 to 18 in Jordan. They are in Group D and will face Chinese-Taipei (Taiwan), Syria, and Turkmenistan.

Both NMI teams are led by Coach Michiteru Mita, Assistant Coach Jershwin Angeles, Team Manager Davy Laxa and Goal Keeper Coach Christopher Aninzo.

Published by Marianas Variety - Aug 4, 2022

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