CNMI AIMING FOR BACK-TO-BACK
The CNMI Girls U19 National Team is ready for battle, as it takes on host Guam in the Marianas Cup 2019 this Saturday at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Dededo.
The visiting squad is bringing in 18 players for the 3pm match where the Commonwealth is aiming for a repeat of its thrilling 3-2 victory in last year’s competition held at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. Majority of the players from last year’s winning team will be back to play against Guam this weekend. They are Guine Borja, Gillian Villagomez, Katrina Costales, Jerlyn Castillo, Emalyn Aniana, Britany Wally, Sharmaine Francisco, and Julianne Hall. Completing the roster are Gianna Griffin, Mia Carreon, Nathanette Blas, Jenny Ann Capayas, Andrei Kaithlynn Chavez, Marinel Falalimpa, Christina Atalig, Jannah Casarino, and Khristelle Itaas. Olympian Luem Khen Koo is the head coach, while Lalaine Pagarao and Jimmy Tang are the assistant coaches, and Angie Ito and Pam Carhill are the team manager and physiotherapist, respectively.
“The team is ready for Marianas Cup,” said Koo, adding that the group’s three-week training at the Tuloy Foundation in the Philippines allowed the players to sharpen their individual and teams skills for this Saturday’s matchup.
“When they saw the skills of the players at the Tuloy Foundation, everyone realized how important hard work is. The players have also shown significant improvements on their vision of the game and how to play in tight situations,” the head coach said.
Koo is also counting on the team’s better fitness and the ability to push the pace of the game.
The CNMI players worked on their fitness level in the Philippines, as they practiced there twice a day, six days a week, plus they had regular training matches and participated in some outreach programs. When they returned to Saipan last Friday, the players just rested for the weekend and resumed their preparations for the Marianas Cup last Monday. The team will have its last training session today, while a send-off ceremony for both the women’s and men’s squads will be held tomorrow at the NMITC at 4:30pm.