Soccer fans will once again witness the age-old rivalry between the CNMI and Guam, as the two islands collide in the 2018 Marianas Cup on Oct. 7 at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.
“We are excited to host the Marianas Cup and are inviting all soccer fans to come to the pitch and support the teams that will be playing in next month’s event,” Northern Mariana Islands Football Association general secretary Ross Zapanta told Saipan Tribune.
NMIFA has hosted the Marianas Cup in the past, but this year’s edition is extra special, as it will be the first time that the CNMI and Guam will be playing at the training center, which was just inaugurated in July this year.
“We are excited and at the same time pressured because expectations are high since we will be hosting the Marianas Cup for the first time in our training center. This is the first time that we will be hosting an off-island team in our pitch and we would like to get things in order to have a successful Marianas Cup not only for the visiting team and officials, but also for the guests and spectators that will watch the games,” Zapanta said.
“Hosting the Marianas Cup at the training center for the first time will also give us the opportunity to learn and experience how to hold a big event and we hope to do it right, as we will host more teams in the future,” the NMIFA official added.
The Marianas Cup will feature two matches. The CNMI and Guam’s U19 women’s national teams will play in the first game at 4pm, while in the second tiff at 7pm, the islands’ U17 men’s nationals squads will be on center stage.
The host teams are busy preparing for the Marianas Cup with more than 24 players from each group attending the training and hoping to make the final cut. Only 18 players will be included in the official roster of each squad. NMIFA technical director and head coach Michiteru Mita will call the shots for the CNMI U17 men’s crew, while Olympian Luem Khen Koo will coach the women’s team.