The CNMI Men’s U19 National Team will head to Japan next week for a training camp in preparation for the 2019 Marianas Cup and AFC U19 Championship 2020 Qualifiers.
The training camp will be held from June 25 to July 2 at the St. Catherine University in Matsuyama with coach Michiteru Mita’s players scheduled to challenge four Japanese teams.
“The primary purpose of the camp is to get the team ready for Marianas Cup and the AFC U19 Championship 2020 Qualifiers so we will be having intensified trainings,” Mita said.
The Marianas Cup will be played in Guam on July 20, while the AFC qualifier will take place in Cambodia from Nov. 2 to 10 with the CNMI in Group G and competing against the host country, Brunei, Thailand, and Malaysia.
“The training camp is designed so that the players can grow and step up as a team. With the new U19 national team, we are trying a new play style. So, during the training camp we will be testing and refining the play style, too,” said Mita, who facilitates the squad’s regular practice sessions at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.
The crew trains almost every day and is picking up speed, according to the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association technical director. But Mita said he is pushing the team harder because the Marianas Cup is just around the corner.
“We will need to accelerate now that the Marianas Cup is only one month away. This year, we have a very good combination of younger players who are developing and players who are more experienced. Players like Enrico Del Rosario and Christopher Aninzo, who have played for CNMI National Team and are now playing overseas, bring high standards, great attitude, and maturity to our squad. They are good influence to the younger players. If the younger players learn and catch up to the level of these experienced and hard-working players, the team will grow to the next level,” said Mita.
Some U23 players will join the training camp in Japan and will also suit up for the U19 team that will play Guam in the Marianas Cup.
In the training camp, Mita said they will have matches against the varsity team of St. Catherine University (playing in the second division of Shikoku University League) and Ehime University (first division). The Commonwealth players will be reunited with Ryu Tanzawa, who played for the CNMI Men’s National Team and is now a member of the St. Catherine University squad.
The Blue Ayuyus will also take on two high school/youth teams—the Matsuyama Technical High School and FC Imabari Youth. The two squads are among the top-ranked groups in Shikoku region.
“The intensified training and matches with very competitive teams will give our players the opportunity to enhance their techniques and skills. Additionally, I would like the players to experience a different culture and see the attitudes of competitive players—how they approach training and games,” Mita said.