Ruselle Zapanta made the grade in last April's coaching course in China to earn an AFC C license certificate.
“Ruselle took the AFC “C” Certificate Course in China, while the U14 boys were competing and we were recently informed that he passed the test and was issued a certificate,” Northern Mariana Islands Football Association general secretary Ed Salas said in an email to Saipan Tribune.
The course took place at the China National Football Training Centre near Xhianghe-Hebei Province, just outside Beijing, from April 15 to 30, according to Zapanta. He added he was one of the 23 participants in the 15-day course, joining eight coaches from China, two from Guam, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, and Japan, and one each from Macau and Chinese-Taipei.
AFC elite coaching instructor Kwok Ka Ming of Hong Kong and his assistant Jessie Fan Yun Jie conducted the course that were divided into theoretical and practical sessions.
“The course aimed at teaching us how to coach and improving our basic coaching knowledge and skills. The instructors gave us knowledge on how to plan a training session and conduct a session. They also taught us attacking principles the first few days and then they went on to defensive principles. There was even a brief medical session so we can improve the health and condition of our players. Our days alternated between theoretical sessions in the classroom and practical sessions at the pitch,” Zapanta said.
“There were even a couple of nights where we stayed up late, preparing for our practical exams. We had three practical exams, two theory exams, and one on the laws of the game. In the middle of the festival, the coaches help conduct skills tests for kids,” he added.
The new C license coach also said the course allowed him to interact with coaches from other countries and learn from them, too.
Now that Zapanta holds an AFC C licence, he hopes to become a better coach and help NMIFA develop players who will represent the CNMI in future competitions.
“It is important that NMIFA improves the quality and increases the pool of local coaches. I love the sport and being a coach is one way of getting involved with the sport more. It is a great feeling knowing that you can be a big influence to people, especially to our youth. Seeing the kids grow and improve is great news for CNMI football,” said Zapanta, who last Saturday led Shirley's FC to a title win in the NMIFA women's league.