Collegiate soccer door opens for NMI

Posted on Dec 04 2020


In this 2018 file photo, the CNMI’s Katrina Costales, left, steps in to play defense against a Macau player during their game in the EAFF E-1 Football Championships 2019 Round 1 at the Mongolian Football Federation Stadium in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. (Contributed Photo)

A coach from a collegiate soccer team has reached out to the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association and presented opportunities for the CNMI’s female players.

Eieri Jordan Salivia, the head coach of Kellogg Community College, had a virtual meeting with eight players from the Commonwealth’s national training pool and NMIFA coaching staff member Angie Ito late last month to discuss the Bruin’s program. At the meeting, which was also attended by the parents of three players, Salivia talked about the academic and athletic opportunities that KCC can offer to the islands’ players.

Katrina Costales, one of the eight players that talked to the KCC coach, said the presentation was very encouraging.

“I’m really grateful that we got the opportunity to connect with recruiting coaches in the mainland. Players in the CNMI are still unfamiliar with the college recruiting process and I think it’s a great eye opener and motivating to know that we are eligible for this opportunity to play soccer in the collegiate level,” the Marianas High School senior said.

“The presentation was very informative and it helped me expand my knowledge and options in pursuing the sport at a higher level. There are so many benefits of being a student-athlete in college. From financial support to high-quality academic programs and athletic scholarships. These are just a few benefits a college student-athlete has access to,” said Costales, a many-time national team member.

Saipan International School student Julianne Hall also attended the virtual meeting with the KCC coach and was pleased that she did, as she really has plans to continue her soccer journey in college.

“I’m interested in playing collegiate soccer and this meeting was very informative. I’m new to the process and all, so it was helpful,” the MP United Football Club member said.

Kellogg Community College head coach Eieri Jordan Salivia virtually joins CNMI female players, their parents, and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association coaching staff member Angie Ito, left, for a group photo after a presentation at the NMIFA office late last month. (Contributed Photo)

“I think that players here are getting more interested in playing collegiate soccer and fortunately, NMIFA is there to support all the players. Thanks to these opportunities a lot more players can have the chance to continue playing and studying at the same time,” Hall said.

Ito, meanwhile, encouraged the Commonwealth’s female players to take advantage of opportunities like this.

“Unlike our mainland counterparts, we don’t have the luxury of wide-range exposure to the collegiate ranks. Scouts can’t simply fly out on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis to watch our local leagues or trainings. To have a scout reach out to us, especially at these difficult times, is something our players and their parents should really look into and capitalize on,” said Ito, who served as the women’s national team’s assistant coach and manager in previous tournaments and currently supervises the training pool’s practice sessions.

Costales, who was joined in the online meeting by fellow U19 players Jannah Casarino, Stephanie Flores, Khristelle Itaas, Krizel Tuazon, Britanny Wally, and Marinel Falalimpa, acknowledged the arduous process that student-athletes need to go through to jump into the collegiate ranks. However, she reiterates that the benefits of making it to the team and working on a degree will definitely be worth it in the long run.

KCC is part of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association’s Western Conference. The Bruin also plays in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region 12. The KCC coach is a former pro soccer player for the Romanian club Astra Ploiesti and used to be the executive director of Kalamazoo Soccer Club. Salivia took over the coaching post with the Bruin in the fall season last year and serves as KCC’s Physical Education program coordinator.

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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