The Northern Mariana Islands Football Association has sent its NMI U17 and U20 men’s national teams to the Philippines to continue their preparation for the Asian Football Confederation-sanctioned tournaments this year.
The two teams left Saipan last weekend and will train at the Tuloy XO Field in Alabang until Aug. 10. At the two-weekend camp, the 24-player delegation will have multiple training sessions in a day, play in exhibition games, and perform activities and community service along with the players staying at Tuloy—an institution established by Tuloy Don Bosco Foundation to focus on helping less fortunate children.
“It’s been three years since we last came to Tuloy Foundation. Our boys will surely learn not just about soccer but as well as life skills from the Tuloy boys. They are good soccer players, educated, and independent even though they experienced many difficulties growing up. They always greet people and act responsibly on their own. These are very important skills for a soccer player because soccer is a decision-making sport so you have to be independent and able to communicate. Communication is very critical for team sports,” said NMIFA technical director and head coach Michiteru Mita, who is being assisted by goalkeeper coach Chris Aninzo, team manager Davy Laxa, and assistant coach Jersh Angeles in facilitating the training camp.
“Many top elite youth soccer academy or top youth national team coaches believe in the importance of growth not only as soccer players, but also as a person if you want to move up to a higher level. Our boys are very lucky here to be provided with a good level of soccer, facility, healthy food, and transportation as well as learning opportunities. We try to develop players to be tough and independent as they compete in the AFC U17 and U20 tournaments,” Mita said.
Fifteen members of the NMI U17 National Team joined the training camp in the Philippines. The list includes Noelan Ngewakl, Mark Costales, Tyler Omelau, Zhi Xiang Lin, Wataru Kadokura, Monico Claridades, Jonne Navarro, Miles Linde, Ruben Guerrero, Anthony Austria, Cody Shimizu, Markus Toves, Anthony Bergancia, Mark Chavez, and Vicente Reyes. The NMI U17 will be competing in the 2023 AFC U17 Asian Cup Qualifier from Oct. 5 to 9 in Australia. They are in Group G of the qualifier and will be playing against the host, China, and Cambodia.
In the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup Qualifier, which will run Sept. 10 to 18 and will be held in Jordan, the NMI will be battling the host country, Chinese-Taipei, Syria, and Turkmenistan in Group D. Daniel Mar Pablo, Brian Lubao, Jerald Aquino, Merrick Toves, Akira Kadokura, Taka Borja, Brandon Tenorio, Jason Quimzon, and Reginald Pascual are the U20 players attending the PH camp.
Before going to the Philippines, the NMI U17 and U20 teams went to Guam for training camp.