The Northern Mariana Islands Football Association marked the start of its five-year commitment to implement improvement projects and activities in Koblerville with a cleanup drive last Saturday.
NMIFA staff and coaches led the cleanup, which began at the Mobil Gas Station and covered the main roads surrounding the NMI Soccer Training Center. Five NMIFA staff members and eight coaches were joined by 10 members of the CNMI Men’s National Team, 21 from the U16 and U19 Women’s National Team, and 28 from the U15 and U17 boys squads.
NMIFA technical director and men’s national team head coach Michiteru Mita said getting involved in the cleanup drives and other activities that benefit the community is very significant to the overall character development of national players.
“This is a good opportunity for players to learn and think how we can support our community. This kind of activity off the pitch will help players realize the importance of stepping up when help is needed, develop a sense of gratitude, and recognize the value of national team’s involvement in various projects in the community. In Japan, if a soccer player only knows how to play the sport, he/she is not a good player,” Mita said.
CNMI Men’s National Team captain Jireh Yobech said participating in activities in the community is their way of saying thank you for the support they’ve been getting from the Commonwealth’s residents.
“The CNMI community has always been behind us and the national team program and we really appreciate that. The pandemic has brought on a unique challenge for the CNMI, and we just wanted to give back in some way,” Yobech said.
“Without the support from the community, we can’t play soccer,” Mita added.
The 72 players, coaches, and officials that joined the cleanup drive were divided in small groups and picked up trash from 8am to 10:30am.
CNMI Women’s National Team player Krizel Tuazon said that just like their training sessions, safety measures were observed during the cleanup.
“We are in a very challenging situation right now, but we are glad that we’re able to find ways to help our community at this time of the pandemic. It feels great that as a team, we can help beautify the CNMI,” Tuazon said.
NMIFA is planning to do cleanup drives every month and will also spearhead other enhancement projects in Koblerville, such as improvement in the village’s youth center and basketball court. NMIFA chose to adopt Koblerville as the village has been home to NMISTC since 2018. The pitch at the Koblerville Elementary School also played host to numerous matches of various NMIFA leagues for more than a decade.
The five-year commitment to the village is part of NMIFA’s involvement in the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers’ Public Private Partnership, an initiative that brings together government agencies, the business, sports, and education sectors, ethnic and religious groups, and non-government organizations to develop and maintain tourist sites, landmarks, and other key areas in the CNMI for the benefit of both visitors and residents.
NMIFA would also like to acknowledge other individuals, government officials, and organizations that advocate for the overall well-being of the Koblerville community. One of them is Saipan Awaodori whose members also do regular trash collection drives within the Koblerville Youth Center. For those who would like to join NMIFA’s future community activities, please contact the NMIFA office at 235-0173 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.