It was a victorious weekend for MP United Football Club.
Less than 24 hours after the club’s U18 clinched the 2014 FA Youth Challenge Cup last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field, MP United’s U12 team secured the championship in the Choco Milk Cup 2014 last Sunday over at the Koblerville Elementary School Field.
MP United bagged the title in the U12 competition after beating National Elite Academy U12 and Matansa Football Club in similar scores, 3-0. The champion team is composed of Go and Rei Sekiguchi, Daniele Colombo, Mark Esalan, Eun Syu Hahn, Tony Kim, Cullen Taisacan, Geon Ho Lee, Bryant Cayabyab, Maaya Sato, Sam Ryu, Kaito Sawaki, and Andy Kim.
The same team, which was coached by Kennedy Izuka and Chris Park and managed by May Ling Colombo, won the second qualifying round of the National Elite Academy-hosted event to notch a seat in the finale. Matansa topped the first qualifier, while NEA, which was composed of selected players from its elite pool, automatically gained entry to weekend competition. Tinian Premier Football Club was originally set to join the three teams in the finale, but did not make the Saipan trip.
With only three teams competing in the finals and to give participating squads enough time to rest, match commissioner and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association technical director Kiyoshi Sekiguchi decided to divide each match to two halves with all three teams playing the first half of their respective games first.
Matansa and NEA suited up for the match first and engaged in a scoreless draw in the opening 20 minutes of the game, while MP United earned similar 1-0 edge over Matansa and NEA in the next two installment tiffs.
NEA resumed its duel against Matansa FC and this time scored three goals for the win and a good chance to prevail in the finale. MP United, on the other hand, added two more goals in the second half of its match against Matansa, making the former’s second-half encounter with NEA the deciding game. NEA failed to hit the board in the final game of the weekend, while MP United collected two more goals to complete the title win.
Esalan scored the two goals in the second half, while Lee tallied the first one against NEA. Versus Matansa, Lee and Asan also made it to the board in the second half, while Hahn recorded one in the opening 20 minutes.
NEA, which organized the competition with the support of major sponsors Japan Football Association and Choco Milk/MARPAC and other contributors Anchor Milk (distributed by MBI), Triple J Motors, and Saipan Soccer School, drew its three goals from Kaden Church, Rinto Takahashi, and Rintaro Miyawaki.