National team members joined their coaches and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association officials in cleaning up the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville last Saturday.
NMIFA technical director Michiteru Mita said NMIFA president Jerry Tan and the national teams players (men, women, and youth) picked up debris, moved broken equipment, swept the ground, and collected the artificial turf that got ripped off from the secondary pitch when Super Typhoon Yutu struck Saipan late last month.
“I thanked all the NMIFA staff and the players who helped out clean the center. We still need to pick up many rocks and broken glasses on the main pitch,” added Mita, who also resumed the men’s team’s training session yesterday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, the mini pitch is totally damage and there are some damage to the main pitch. Most of the goals broke and the fence was damaged. In this situation, it’s very difficult to have a normal training session or game yet. But we need to help them get back to normalcy. We want to give kids hope that the can player soccer as soon as possible. We will start with the national team training this week and then we will discuss how we can provide the players opportunities to play at the NMITC,” Mita said.
More than 20 players showed up in last weekend’s cleanup and Mita was impressed with how they and the entire community are responding to the call to help the island recover from Yutu.
“I have never experienced before such big disaster and I’m sad to see the beautiful Saipan devastated. But I am also impressed with how people on Saipan are strong as they try to recover quickly. We, at the training center, will also do our best to recover as we aim to provide hopes and joy to the community through soccer,” the NMIFA official said.
Meanwhile, national team member Jonathan Capayas said they needed to join the clean up to start something for the squad.
“We have to start somewhere to move forward and the best way to do that is help clean up the training center, which is built for us, players,” Capayas said.
CNMI women’s assistant coach Angie Ito, on the other hand, said getting extra help to clean the facility is a relief, not only to NMIFA staff, but also to the first ones who stepped up and tidy up the center.
“Extra hands are always a big help and this will make it easier and faster for us to recover. After the typhoon and when they found out what happened to the training center, a lot of national players are willing to help clean the facility. They wanted to give back to NMIFA, which has done everything to build this center and provide opportunities to them,” Ito said.
“Cleaning up the center is also a crucial step toward having our national teams back on the pitch to train,” she added.