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NMI soccer featured in FIFA news site

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Posted on Feb 22 2021

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A screen grab from FIFA.com shows a feature story on NMI soccer and the aerial shot of the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. (Contributed photo)

The Federation Internationale de Football Association’s official news website recognized NMI soccer’s milestones through a feature story that appeared on FIFA.com last Friday.

The article entitled “Northern Mariana Islands looking to make a splash” mentioned the full membership status that the Commonwealth through the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association received from the Asian Football Confederation—one of the six confederations within FIFA.

The story also took note of how the NMI, despite being a small island and having limited resources, “have long been working hard on making their own impact on the football world” through the establishment and strengthening of its grassroots and men’s, women’s, and junior national team programs, and the availability of a training facility and proper venues for games.

NMIFA executive director Russell Zapanta, who was interviewed for the story, also shared how players’ participation to the program has consistently grown.

“It’ll take time and patience to have a competitive adult team as our program transitions through generations. But gone are the days when the organization had to scramble a team, recruiting and begging kids from other sports to make up what would be a junior national team,” Zapanta was quoted as saying in the featured article.

All these achievements, according to Zapanta, are made possible by the assistance and support NMIFA got and have been getting from AFC, East Asian Football Federation, Guam FA, Japan FA, and Korea FA, as well as the entire NMI community.

Meanwhile, Paire Football Club official and former NMIFA Executive Committee member Patricia Coleman sees NMI soccer story appearing on FIFA.com as a boost to the NMI’s bid for FIFA membership.

“I believe this is the first time that FIFA has featured NMIFA in an article. This helps to demonstrate that we are on their radar and making progress towards NMIFA’s goal of one day being a full member of FIFA,” Coleman said.

Men’s national team player Sunjoon Tenorio was also excited to see NMI’s story on FIFA’s official new site.

“I think the story and us being recognized even in the small sense is big for us and it is promising to see that we are being recognized even if it is just an article. It is very exciting time for NMIFA and all players and coaches and we should be motivated by it,” said Tenorio.
For the full details of the featured article, check https://www.fifa.com/news/northern-mariana-islands-looking-to-make-a-splash.

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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