MPU off to Japan for Pacific Ocean Cup


MP United’s Rintaro Miyawaki, left, collides with Paire FC’s Dylan Mister as they battle for the ball during the Pacific Ocean Cup VII held at the Koblerville Elementary School Field last April. MP United’s U12 team will go to Japan next week to play in the Pacific Ocean Cup VIII. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

MP United Football Club’s co-ed U12 team will leave Saipan next week to compete in the Pacific Ocean Cup VIII in Numazu, Japan.

The team has nine players in Garett and Tori Maratita, Angelo Xu, Yi Sui, Carlo Diaz, Stephanie Kim, Evan Mendiola, Andrew Chung, and Ian Song and they will go up against host Vivid Blue and other U12 squads in Numazu. Completing the IT&E-sponsored quad are coaches Gene Weaver and Alex Park and official Lydia Tan.

The Pacific Ocean Cup is a tournament created by sister clubs MP United and Vivid Blue and is held twice a year with the two groups alternately hosting the competition. Last April, MP United Blue won the Pacific Ocean Cup VII after beating Paire FC in the finals, 4-0, while the visiting Vivid Blue finished third. The biannual event also features cultural exchange program between MP United and Vivid Blue.

MP United players seeing action in next month’s Pacific Ocean Cup VIII are among the club’s more than 100 members who are preparing for the 2017 NMIFA Youth Fall League that will kick off on Sept. 16. They are part of MP United’s two U12 teams (competitive and non-competitive), while the club will also field a U8, U10, girls U15, and boys U14 and U17 squads in next month’s fall league. MP United has a U6 team, too and it is accepting players who want to suit up for the club’s grassroots squad.

“MP United FC is the only club in the CNMI that regularly travels off-island to compete in tournaments. As a club, we try our best to send an age group every year to compete and have them experience other cultures. This fall, our U12 team will be traveling to Japan to compete in Pacific Ocean Cup, which is hosted by our sister club Vivid Blue. In the past years, our club had also traveled to Guam and the Philippines,” MP United vice president and technical director Norman Del Rosario said.

“MP United FC is a family oriented club and everyone who will be a part of the club is considered as a family not only in the field but also off the field. For the higher age groups, our club works side by side with our student-athletes. We emphasize how important it is to get an education for their future. If we know a player that has the potential to play college sports, we encourage them and assist them in their needs,” he added.

Meanwhile, MP United general secretary Ana Hilario said MP United players will return to practice next week at the Garapan Elementary School and Navy Hill fields and schedule of training sessions per age group is being finalized.

Besides Hilario and Del Rosario, other officials of MP United are president Vickie Izuka, vice president Lydia Tan, and treasurer Rose Soledad.

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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