MPU joins Pacific Ocean Cup 6 in Japan


MPU United players and officials pose for a photo at the departure area of the Saipan International Airport before they head to Japan to compete in the Pacific Ocean Cup 6. (Contributed Photo)

MP United Football Club’s U12 players and officials left Saipan yesterday to compete in the Pacific Ocean Cup 6 that will be held at the Numazu Seibu Grounds in Numazu, Japan.

The club’s U12 team is composed of Richard Steele, Jeremiah Hernandez, Garret Weaver, Fiona Bucalig, Dane Hodges, Richard Castro, Tori Weaver, and Jerrick Quimzon. Gene Weaver is the squad’s coach, while Randy Steele and Lisa Castro are the team manager and assistant, respectively.

MPU U12 will play against four other teams in the Pacific Ocean Cup 6 that will be played on Sept. 4. The visiting club will be challenging the host and its sister team Vivid Blue FC, Susono Nishi FC, Dream FC, and Pure FC.

“I hope the team will do well in this competition. I know the Japanese teams are the much stronger squads, but anything is possible when players play hard and are determined to win,” said Lydia Tan, MP United’s representative to Vivid Blue FC’s 10th anniversary celebration this Saturday.

MP United FC will be gunning for its third championship in the Pacific Ocean Cup 6. The club got its first in the 2013 edition of the tournament after beating Vivid Blue in a shootout, 3-1, at the Garapan Elementary School Field. Nagaoka SSS won the inaugural Pacific Oceania Cup after dominating MPU in the 2012 finale, 5-1.

In 2014, the tournament was held twice with Vivid Blue and MPU splitting the wins. Vivid Blue topped the round-robin Pacific Ocean Cup 3 held in Japan, while MPU shut down its sister club, 3-0, in the Pacific Ocean Cup 4 that Saipan hosted.

There was no tournament in 2015, as some of the two clubs’ players were in school and instead of holding the Pacific Ocean Cup, MP United decided to host friendly games. The tournament then returned early this year with Paire FC ruling Pacific Ocean Cup 5 that took place at the Navy Hill Field last March. Paire stole the championship after pulling off a 4-2 upset in a shootout against MPU Blue. Vivid Blue finished third in the Pacific Ocean Cup 5.

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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