Another soccer pitch eyed


Players and officials of local football clubs line up on the field during the opening of the Northern Mariana Islands Soccerr Training Center in Koblerville last Tuesday night. (Jon Perez)

The CNMI will have another pitch as the government has designated an additional property that Northern Mariana Islands Football Association will use to build a facility.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, in his remarks in last Tuesday night’s opening ceremony of the state-of-the-art NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville, said this was only the beginning of the government’s partnership with the NMIFA through the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.

“It’s not going to end today. This is only the beginning. We’ve talked to [DCCA] Sec. Robert [Hunter], whose doing a great job, and we’re contributing and giving you the additional property you need to fulfill the other pitch. I know we’re working on that. The papers and documentaries should be forthcoming,” said Torres.

The property is just beside the newly opened training center.

The governor then urged the public, especially the players, to protect the facility. “This facility is yours and it’s going to be here for a long time.”

Alex Sablan, president of the new club Fiesta FC and host of the opening ceremony, said the designated land is beside the main pitch. “This is for an additional pitch that we will be working and moving forward soon.”

Torres told Saipan Tribune that they would follow the same process when they first designated a land for the newly built soccer facility—that has a main pitch, one mini pitch, offices, bleachers, and ample parking area. Both the main and mini pitches have artificial turfs with the latter can be used for two five-a-side matches and one nine-a-side. The main pitch is reserved for 11-a-side games and training sessions by the CNMI national teams.

The Department of Public Lands, before the construction of the soccer facility, designated the property to DCCA, which then partnered with NMIFA to build the project.

Torres praised the NMIFA for turning the area to a facility that would also benefit the people from the village of Koblerville. “Look at this, this is a perfect partnership with the government. We gave them land and they provided us with this kind of facility.”

“Just looking around, this is an awesome facility. Congratulations to Jerry, Alex Sablan, and the whole organization. Congratulations too, to Koblerville in having this kind of facility in the village,” added Torres, who lives just two blocks away from the center.

Hunter, for his part, said the facility would bring growth to Koblerville—a village that has had faced a lot of challenges, especially among its youth.

“I grew up in Koblerville and this area has faced many challenges. But with this facility here, it would create a lot of opportunities for the people of the village and activities that would promote healthy living for the youth and open other business opportunities that would benefit the community.”

Torres said the center would also help NMIFA reach its goal of having more than 3,000 registered players. “[Currently] there are more than 1,300 players, 55 teams, and nine clubs. That is just amazing with the families gathering here in a healthy environment. Why shouldn’t we give the NMIFA another property?”

“Because we see progress, this is progress and they are about action as well. I congratulate the organization and the players. In order for us to reach the goal of 3,000 players, we need another soccer pitch. So, I look forward to giving them the property and moving forward to make more dreams a reality.”

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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