Northern Mariana Islands Football Association has a new member in the Kanoa Football Club.
Founded in November last year, Kanoa FC officially received an associate membership status from NMIFA recently and will be allowed to compete against the association's five other regular clubs-MP United FC, Shirley's FC, Tan Holdings FC, Matansa FC, and Paire FC.
The newest member of the NMIFA family will have its debut competition this weekend when the 2012 NMIF Youth Spring League kicks off on the various pitches on Saipan. Students from William S. Reyes Elementary School will carry the cudgels for Kanoa FC, making the Kingfishers Field the club's home pitch.
Kanoa FC president Merlie Tolentino said they decided to tap the talents from WSR, as the school is one of the biggest (in terms of population) in the CNMI and focusing their program in school is one of the most effective ways to recruit players for the new club. However, Tolentino said non-WSR students are very much welcome to join the club, as they want to have as many players as they could.
Kanoa started recruiting players in December and has been training over 60 WSR students. These students are then divided into four age group teams-U6, U8, U10, and 12-for the NMIFA spring league.
“The children are excited for the games and we're pleased that many have signed up to play for Kanoa FC. “Right now our focus is on strengthening our youth program through active recruitment of players, ” Tolentino said.
She added that the club also has a men's team and is looking forward to forming a women's squad in the near future.
Joining Tolentino on the Kanoa FC board are vice president Shirley Kim, general secretary Cristy Villalflor and her assistant Andrew Galvez, treasurer Lani Santos, and technical director Raphael Zapanta. The club also has a pool of young coaches in Mikky Vargas, Jeralyn Castillo, Irish Pagarao, Jhaneeka Atalig, Mark Mora, and Galvez.