The CNMI Girls U16 National Team made up for its sluggish start in the training camp in the Philippines after sweeping their matches last Friday.
The Commonwealth’s youth team prevailed against Tuloy Girls U16 and Boys U12 in similar scores, 2-0. The host squads are from Tuloy Foundation, Inc., a non-profit group that provides residential care and services, including soccer training, to children and youth. Then Tuloy had its new players (U12 boys and U15 girls) challenged the CNMI crew for the third time with the visitors winning anew, 2-0. Last Thursday, the Commonwealth players fell to Tuloy Girls U16, 0-1, and Boys U15, 0-5.
“Against Tuloy Girls U16 last Friday, for the first 30 minutes the girls had a lot of successful connecting passes and buildups from the defensive line. We had many attempts to score. Had our finishing been better, the goal difference would have been much higher than 2. Defensively, the girls were able to execute what they were taught during training. They were able to not just kick the ball away from the opponents, but to actually regain possession and transition from defense to offense a lot more smoothly, which resulted in many scoring opportunities,” team manager Mikky Vargas said.
Versus Tuloy’s Boys U12, Vargas said the girls faced a smaller, but speedier foes. The visiting team capitalized on their heft advantage to score two more goals.
“They had quick 1-2 plays and were able to get through our blindside easily. However, we were able to successfully attack because of the huge difference in size,” the team manager added.
Then for the final game on Day 2 of the training camp, the CNMI bets were pitted against newbies.
“The last game was played against U12-16 players that are very new to the sport. The girls applied what they learned in training and were able to regain the ball on several occasions. They also had some connecting passes and buildups from the defense line. All in all, the girls played much better during this game compared to the second one,” Vargas said.
The Day 2 matches were held in the afternoon, while training sessions took place in the morning.
“We worked on our team’s defensive tactics on regaining the ball. There were many instances during their first game where once the girls lost the ball to the opposition, they did not know what steps to take in order to regain the ball,” added Vargas.
The team completed the PH training camp over the weekend and is scheduled to return to Saipan today. It played training matches in Guam and the Philippines as part of its preparations for the AFC U16 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers Round 1 that will be held in Tajikistan this September.