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U14 soccer training matches ‘good marker’ for NMI team

NMI U14 coach Jireh Yobech said that the U14 soccer matches between the NMI and Guam are “always a good marker for how we are developing as a football nation,” even with the two losses NMI were handed last Monday and Tuesday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

The NMI U14 boys fell in a two-game sweep against Guam, with a 3-6 final score on Monday and 2-5 on Tuesday.

In the first game, NMI drew first blood, with Moshe Sikkel breaking through Guam’s defenses in the 11th minute. His teammate Stephen Yeom followed that up with a score of his own for an early 2-0 lead.

However, Guam then rolled through the first half with a reply of three goals to take the lead by one.

NMI’s Maximus Taitano then found the back of the net to tie the game up, 3-3. But three more goals resounded from the cleats of Guam players Stephen Rioja and two from Leonard Kaee III, which was enough to give the W for Guam as the NMI boys couldn’t find their footing.

In the second match, Guam’s Trystan Santos opened up the game four minutes in, followed by another shot from teammate Chima Mbakwem Jr. five minutes later. One more goal was made by Peter Roy Barcinas 33 minutes into the game, with the NMI boys silenced throughout the first half.

The NMI’s Anton Megino finally found the net in the 38th minute to put one up on the scoreboard. It was too late to catch up though, as Guam’s Eli Brown scored the fourth goal in the 43rd minute and Leonard Kaee III scored the fifth goal in the 53rd.

Sikkel scored the last goal for the NMI in the 74th minute.

Despite the losses, Yobech acknowledged Guam’s skills and said, “we enjoy the challenge and opportunity to play against higher level opponents.”

“So as our island’s football community grows, we aim to develop a style of play that is distinctly our own. So the objective of these games was to be able to implement that style of play against a team that was not going to let us have our way. We were able to keep the ball under heavy pressure at times but there is still a lot of fine tuning that needs to happen for the next time we play our neighbors,” said Yobech on the team’s performance.

Yobech then thanked the Guam Football Association and the team’s supporters. “Our coaching staff would like to thank GFA for games well fought, and our home crowd for their incredible support over the last few weeks building up to these games.”

Published by Saipan Tribune - Dec 23 2022


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