Saipan World Resort is the newest addition to the M-League family and will be playing in Division 2. With World Resort’s entry, the M-League now has 13 teams with seven of them entered in Division 2 and six in Division 1. World Resort is grouped with the CNMI Women’s National Team, Matansa Football Club, Kanoa Football Club, Shirley’s Football Club, Sun Palace, and the Thundercats. Division 1 has Wild Bill’s Paire Football Club, MP United Football Club, Korean Football Association on Saipan, Tan Holdings Football Club, and Inter Godfather’s.
Twelve of the 13 teams will have their debut in the opening week of the M-League with Paire FC and Inter Godfather’s playing in the first game of the season this Sunday at 12pm. In the second match at 2pm, KFAS will take on MP United, while in the third tiff at 4pm, Wild Bill’s will face Tan Holdings FC. The last two matches in Week 1 will feature Division 2 teams, as the CNMI Women’s National Team squares off with Matansa FC at 6pm and Kanoa FC collides against the Thundercats at 2pm. The remaining Division 2 game in the opening week is set for Sept. 21 with World Resort having its baptism of fire versus Shirley’s FC at 6:30pm.
Sun Palace drew a bye in the opening week and will have its debut match on Sept. 28 against World Resort in the last game of the weekend at 8pm. Other matches in Week 2 of the fall season are as follows: Tan Holdings vs KFAS at 2pm; MP United vs Inter Godfather’s at 4pm; Matansa vs Kanoa FC at 6pm; and CNMI Women’s National Team vs Shirley’s FC (Oct. 1) at 6:30pm.
Each division will have a double-robin robin format in the regular season and the fall season will culminate with the Elimination Cup and Plate Tournament that will start in December. The Top 2 teams in Division 1 and top finisher in Division 2 will get byes in the Cup. Other rules in the two special tournaments will be announced later.
Meanwhile, the league will revert to its old format of having separate records for the seasons. Last year, the league combined the records of teams in the fall and spring competitions to determine the division champions. Wild Bill’s ruled Division 1 last season with its 17-4-0 win-draw-loss slate, beating deposed champion Tan Holdings FC, which finished the fall and spring season with a 14-2-5 card. Inter Godfather’s came in at third with its 13-2-6 record, followed by KFAS and Paire, which tallied 11-5-5 and 8-3-10 marks, respectively. MP United registered a 7-1-13 record to earn the final spot in Division 1, while Kanoa FC finished last with its 4-1-16 card and was relegated to Division 2.
The Thundercats topped Division 2 after logging a 13-4-4 record, while Shirley’s FC was the runner-up with its 13-1-7 mark. Sun Palace placed third with its 10-3-8 slate, followed by the CNMI Women’s National Team and Matansa, which posted 2-0-19 and 0-0-21 cards, respectively.