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NMI U15 men’s soccer team off to EAFF tourney in China

The NMI U15 Men’s National Soccer Team is off to the FIFA Forward Developmental Programme EAFF U15 Men’s Championship 2023 in Qingdao, China.

The championship is scheduled from Sept. 1 to 8 and the team is set to fly out on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

The team is in Group A and will first face off against Mongolia on Sept. 1. They will then take on Macau on Sept. 2, then South Korea on Sept. 3, and finally square off against China on Sept. 4.

In a send-off ceremony Monday evening at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville, the 19-member team were given well wishes and good luck for their upcoming competition.

The ceremony was attended by NMIFA board members, NMIFA officials, parents, and supporters of the team.

In a message given by NMIFA president Jerry Tan, he said that the team of boys representing the NMI in China are a product of years of training, hard work by coaches, and support of their parents.

Tan added that with the NMI’s recent win over Guam in the Marianas Football Cup early this month, that the NMI boys and girls “have what it takes to win.” So, “this is something that you should all be proud of. It did not happen easily and it did not happen overnight,” he said.

Of the team representing NMI in the EAFF championship, “we’re here to witness and to celebrate another milestone. We want to congratulate every one of you for making the team—and enjoy. Enjoy the competition and enjoy Qingjdao.”

NMIFA Executive Committee member Catherine Attao-Toves also wished the team well. For her part, she said “I’m really excited for what you’re going to experience.”

For the players competing internationally for the first time, she said “embrace the opportunity and the experience that you’re going to receive. Take note of those that have already experienced international exposure and just have fun with it. Do your best because we are proud of you. We know how much time and dedication it took for you to get to this point and to be selected for this final team.”

She then thanked the NMIFA staff that will accompany them and said “I know you’re going to take really good care of the team and represent us well.”

The U15 team is made up of Terrel Kileleman-Hix, Taiga Namai-Scoggins, Aiden Camacho, Jayson Tagabuel, Michael Miller, Arstin Tagabuel, Mark Costales, Chan Woong Yeom, Chan Seo Yeom, Paul Lizama, Rooney Gil, Akoni Matsumoto, Bennet Haro, Bennetton Haro, Gaius Ranada, Yutaka Kadokura, Nolan Ngewakl, Moshe Sikkel, Kian Estolas, and Edward Arriola III.

Accompanying them are head coach Michiteru Mita, assistant coach Jireh Yobech, assistant coach Konomi Suzuki, team manager Mikky Vargas, assistant team manager Khristelle Itaas, and physical therapist Hazel Mabasa.

Published by Saipan Tribune - Aug 23, 2023


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