Busy schedule for CNMI soccer teams

The CNMI Women’s U16 National Team’s Sharmaine Francisco tries to keep control of the ball during a training match against Quality Distributors at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Dededo last month. (Guam Football Association)

The CNMI national teams will have their hands full in the last half of the year, as the Commonwealth will compete in various off-island tournaments and hold training camps.

First to see action on the pitch is the CNMI Boys U15 National Team, which will head to China for the East Asian Football federation U15 Boys Tournament 2018. The event will run from July 23 to 28 in Xianghe.

The Commonwealth bets will debut against Hong Kong on July 23 and then will face China (July 24), South Korea (July 25), Mongolia (July 27), and Chinese-Taipei (July 28).

Once the CNMI’s boys U15 crew complete their tournament in China, the spotlight will shift to the U16 squad, which will participate in the Tuloy XO Cup in the Philippines from July 31 to Aug. 6.

Meanwhile, the CNMI Men’s National Team will be holding two training camps outside Saipan to prepare for the EAFF E-1 Men’s Preliminary Round 1. The first stop will be Japan and the camp will start on July 17 and ends on July 23. The second and last training camp will take place in Korea in August, while the squad will travel to Ulan Bator in Mongolia for a qualifying tournament for the 2019 EAFF E-1 Football Championship.

In Mongolia, the CNMI will challenge the host, Guam, and Macau. The winner will advance to the second round and duel Chinese-Taipei, North Korea, and Hong Kong in the November tournament. The finals, on the other hand, will be held in South Korea, but competition dates have yet to be determined. South Korea, Japan, China, have qualified to the finals.

The CNMI Women’s National Team will participate in the same qualifier and will also square off against squads from Mongolia, Guam, and Macau for a slot to the second round where China, Hong Kong, and Chinese-Taipei are waiting. Japan, South Korea, and North Korea are the finalists in the women’s.

Over in Tajikistan, the CNMI will play against Thailand, Iran, Singapore, and the host in Group C of the Asian Football Confederation U16 Women’s Championships 2019 Qualifiers. The tournament in Tajikistan will run from Sept. 15 to 23.

The CNMI Women’s U19 National Team will also see action in an AFC-sanctioned tournament—U19 Women’s Championships 2019 Qualifiers—from Oct. 24 to 28 with the host country yet to be announced.

In the U19 qualifier, the Commonwealth U19 crew will be up against Vietnam, Jordan, and Malaysia.

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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