Fall youth league starts tomorrow

A Shirley’s Football Club defender keeps a close eye on a Matansa player during their girls U15 division game in the 2017 NMIFA Spring Youth League at the Francisco M. Sablan Middle School Field. Shirley’s will play TanHoldings at the start of the fall season tomorrow. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Shirley’s Football Club will begin its title defense in the girls U15 division tomorrow when it takes on TanHoldings FC in the opening week of the 2017 NMIFA Youth Fall League.

Shirley’s, which won the last five championships in the age group as it swept the 2015 and 2016 tournaments and the spring competition this year, will face TanHoldings in the curtain-raiser at 1pm at the Francisco M. Sablan Middle School Field. Completing the triple-header of Week 1 of the fall league are the games between Matansa and Paire at 2:30pm and Southern United and Kanoa at 4pm.

The seven-team girls U15 division will have a round-robin format with the Top 2 finishers automatically moving into the semifinals. The bottom two will be eliminated, while the No. 3 to 6 placers will fight for the last two semis tickets. The defending champion Shirley’s had a 6-1-1 win-draw-loss record last fall season to top the division and was unbeaten last spring with its 6-0-0 mark.

In other games this weekend, boys U17 defending champion MP United will duel Matansa in the 11:35am match at the Hopwood Middle School Field. Two more games are scheduled in the division with Kanoa battling the National Developing Academy at 8:15am, and Tan Holdings squaring off against Paire at 9:55am.

The boys U17 division has a two-round robin format with the team with the best record after 10 games getting the age group crown. MP United won last fall’s championship after edging TanHoldings in a playoff game. The defending champion also defeated TanHoldings in a rubber for the spring crown this year.

In the co-ed U12A division, Kanoa was last year’s fall season winner and the club will have two teams going for the age group title this season. Kanoa-1 will play Matansa in the first match at 2pm at the Hopwood pitch, while Kanoa-2 will meet Paire on the other pitch at the same time. MP United and TanHoldings will also see action in this weekend’s opener.

Over at the Koblerville Elementary School Field, 2016 fall champion TanHoldings will begin its title defense at 1pm when it challenges MP United. In the second game at 2:30pm, it will be Shirley’s vs Kanoa, while in the last match at 4pm, Matansa will battle Paire.

The opening week will also feature matches in the U8, U10, and U12B divisions at the various school pitches on Saipan.

Obet Aguilar

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