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World Cup champion Kumagai to share pitch with NMI players


The NMI’s young female players will get a rare chance to share the soccer pitch with the Japan Women’s National Team player that hit the game-winner in their penalty shootout win over the powerhouse United States in the 2011 World Cup in Germany.


World Cup champion and many-time Japan Women’s National Team captain Saki Kumagai will be in town from June 6 to 10 to hold a soccer clinic and do a presentation with the NMI soccer community. Kumagai, who played for various pro clubs in the European league and is now with the 2023-24 Serie A and the 2023-24 Coppa Italia champion AS Roma, will be conducting a clinic on June 8 at the NMI Soccer Training Center, from 9am to 11:30am. The clinic, which the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association is organizing, will be divided into two sessions with the first one, from 9am to10am reserved for girls U12 players. The second session will run from 10:30am to 11:30am and is for girls U16 players.


“I want to enjoy playing soccer while interacting with the children in NMI. I also want to refresh myself in the great nature before heading to the Olympics,” said Kumagai, who will suit up anew for the Japan Women’s National Team as they compete in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

“My main goal in conducting the soccer clinic in the NMI is to let the children know and experience the joy of playing soccer. I am looking forward to playing with them and having fun,” the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Female Player of the Year added.

Presentation open to public

Besides the clinic, Kumagai will have a presentation on June 7 at the Hibiscus Hall of the Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan, starting at 6pm.


The presentation is dubbed as “The Way of My Life” and will feature the Japanese pro’s soccer journey that began with her stint with the Urawa Red Diamonds (2009-2011) in Saitama, Japan all the way to various European clubs, such as FFC Frankfurt (2011-2013), Olympique Lyonnais (2013-2021), FC Bayern Munchen (2021-2023), and her current team, AS Roma. The presentation is open to the public, regardless of club affiliation, while parents, coaches, and other interested individuals are also welcome to come.


“We hope that through this presentation, we will motivate our young players to keep playing soccer and continue to enjoy the game and improve their skills, and also encourage others to join our program. This presentation is also for parents, guardians, and others involved in NMI soccer or any other sport, as their support is very critical in the success of our young athletes,” NMIFA acting technical director Konomi Suzuki said.

To register for the presentation, click here https://forms.gle/EwMujEUJKfLX6vu36. (PR)


Published by Saipan Tribune - May 31, 2024

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