Dove and its maker Unilever expressed their continued support to the CNMI women’s soccer program by turning over a $5,000 donation to Northern Mariana Islands Football Association yesterday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
The amount represents the final half of its $10,000 donation every year to the Commonwealth’s women’s soccer program, which will receive the remaining $20,000 in the next two years. NMIFA got the $5,000 earlier this year.
“Though this donation, we would like to reiterate Dove and Unilever’s commitment to support CNMI women’s football. Unilever has always encouraged its partners to do something for the community and this (donation) is our way of doing that,” said Max P. Kretzers, resident manager of D&Q Saipan, which distributes Dove and other Unilever products on the island.
Kretzers and D&Q Saipan regional sales manager Marilyn Marron turned over the check to NMIFA president Jerry Tan and general secretary Ross Zapanta in a brief ceremony yesterday morning at the Executive Lounge of Fiesta Resort.
“We would like to thank Dove, Unilever, and D&Q for their continued commitment to CNMI women’s football. As you know, NMIFA , since its inception in 2005, has been working hard to build our women’s program, which we started from scratch. Having strong corporate sponsors, like Dove, is important in realizing our goal because through their support we were able to develop and strengthen CNMI women’s football,” Tan said.
“We want to give our female players the same opportunities that our men’s players are getting, like competing in international tournaments. Through corporate sponsorships, we were able to train and send our national teams, both youth and women’s, in international and regional competitions in the past several years,” the NMIFA president added.
The CNMI Women’s All-Star Team was the recent squad to have played outside the CNMI, as it participated in the 2015 Luen Thai Cup in Hong Kong in July and stunned a selection from Chelsea FC Soccer School Hong Kong in its debut match, 2-1. Irish Pagarao and Dianne Pablo scored the goals in the upset.
“Our girls beat Chelsea, which eventually won the championship. That says something about the big improvement from our women’s players,” said Tan.
But more than the victory in Hong Kong, the NMIFA head said the significant development in CNMI women’s football in the last five years is reflected in the young blood infused to the program.
“NMIFA is happy to see many young players showing strong interest in the sport. The growing number of young players wanting to join the program is very encouraging. We have players as young as 5 years old, joining our grassroots and that’s very good because we will have a lot of time to train them. Our women’s national team pool has a lot of young players who have been with us in the last five to seven years,” Tan said.
Meanwhile, the 2015 Dove Women’s Fall League will start later this month. The team to beat this season is Shirley’s Football Club, which clinched the spring championship after posting an 11-0-1 win-draw-loss record in the double-round-robin competition.