Women’s football in CNMI gains recognition
In observance of International Women’s Month, Northern Mariana Islands Football Association president Jerry Tan applauded the continuing advancement of women’s football in the CNMI during NMIFA’s celebration of AFC Women’s Football Day 2021 last Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.
During the ceremony, Tan said in the global arena, football is known to be a predominantly male sport. However, he is proud to say that is not the case in the CNMI as NMIFA strives to give equal importance and support to its women’s program.
“That’s why it’s not difficult for NMIFA to organize the annual Women’s Football Day every March because we have a solid program behind it and this is something I am very proud of,” he said.
Tan explained that he is proud of the eagerness and ongoing participation of women and girls in football.
“AFC is also very committed and proud of our program as well this is something that in the FIFA level and the AFC level, not every member association is doing enough or giving equal support to our women’s program and this is something I am proud of, the women’s participation over the years,” he said.
NMIFA vice president Vicky Izuka said NMIFA has come a long way in its 16 years of women’s football but it still has a long way to go to continue to introduce more women to the sport. “But we are so proud of how far we’ve come in women’s football development,” she said.
In a statement from AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, he said women’s football in Asia has achieved incredible development over the past decade and the huge success could not be accomplished without the passion and hard work of women from difference parts of the continent.
“Coinciding with the International Women’s Day, the AFC Women’s Football Day underlines the AFC’s commitment to recognize and honor the dedication of the women in the sport. The AFC calls on everyone to join hands and pay tribute to women for their significant contributions in promoting and developing our great game,” he said.
During the celebration, NMIFA invited 20 distinguished female guests, all of whom hold positions of influence in the CNMI, to participate in basic soccer drills and a few exhibitions matches.
The guests include U.S. District Court for the NMI Magistrate Judge Heather Kennedy, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona Manglona, CNMI Reps. Laila Staffler (D-Saipan) and Denita Yangetemai (D-Saipan), Tanapag Middle School principal Hilda Rios, Koblerville Elementary School principal Naomi Nishimura, Gregorio T. Camacho principal Raena Camacho, Chacha Oceanview Middle School principal Martha Kintol, Saipan Southern High School counselor Ana Mendiola, 2020 Miss Northern Marianas Earth Maria Terlaje, 2021 First Runner-up Marianas Bernadette Horey, 2021 Miss Marianas Savannah Delos Santos, 2021 Miss Mariana People’s Choice Toremy Diaz, D&Q’s Marilyn Marron, TakeCare Saipan’s Melani Santos, Evelyn Lopez of CTSI, TanHoldings representative Loyda Ito, Shirley Kim of Sun Palace Hotel, D&Q’s Kaylani Shiro, and nurse Julie Hall.