The Saipan Soccer School has donated four benches to the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association, strengthening the collaboration between the two organizations in their quest to develop the sport in the CNMI.
SSS staffers Jershwin Angeles and Mae Ito presented the donation to NMIFA general secretary Edward T. Salas, executive committee members Glen Perez and Joseph Kevin Villagomez, and referee Md. Amzad Hossain Khan in a brief ceremony Friday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field.
Angeles and Ito said the blue benches, which are attached by pairs and are fastened to the ground, is one of the ways of SSS to give back to the community.
Salas said that having the benches secured to the ground would prevent players from moving the benches closer to the lines, giving referees more space to move around the field during a match.
He noted that the benches would only be “temporary” as NMIFA is working on purchasing aluminum benches within the next six months.
The benches can fit up to 50 players and their coaches.
Currently using the field are the U14 boys who have a game every Saturdays at 4pm in preparation for their trip to Beijing next month; the Women's M-League, which has matches also on Saturdays at 6pm and 8pm and Tuesday nights; Men's M-League on Sundays at noon, 2pm, 4pm, and 6pm and Wednesday nights; and the U15 and U18 boys.
According to Salas, NMIFA has had a “very good relationship” with the SSS since its inception. The school previously donated soccer balls to the governing body of football in the Commonwealth and allows NMIFA to use their goals and their visiting coaches from the ChelseaFC Soccer School in Hong Kong.
He urged the community to come out and watch the soccer games. “You will see the growth and development of the sport in the last seven years. The skill level is improving,” Salas told Saipan Tribune.