The Northern Marianas Technical Institute held an outreach presentation for close to 30 members of the NMI training team pool last Thursday at its Lower Base facility.
The athletes were treated to presentations on NMTI’s courses and scholarship opportunities and a tour of the trade school.
In an interview Thursday, NMTI chief executive officer Jodina Attao said NMTI Board of Trustees member Catherine Attao—who is also a Northern Mariana Islands Football Association Committee member—brought up the idea of the outreach to NMTI’s Student Services team.
Jodina Attao added that the outreach took several weeks of planning to ensure that the event would not interfere with the athletes’ schedules and that Catherine Attao said it was important that the outreach take place at NMTI’s Lower Base facility so that the athletes can see firsthand what the trade school has to offer.
Also in an interview Thursday, Catherine Attao said that it was important the players got to see NMTI as many of them prepare for life after high school. She expects the athletes to pursue the traditional route of graduating from high school and going on to play for a college or university team but saw the outreach event as an opportunity to show the athletes that opportunities exist at home.
“A lot of them are getting ready to graduate, and I know a lot of them want to continue playing soccer. They’re [doing] a lot of decision-making, ‘Where do I go to college?’ ‘Do they have a spot for me?’ and so forth, and sometimes we get a bit overwhelmed thinking [about] what the possibilities could be. …I wanted them to remember [to not] forget about your home, because the opportunities are also here,” said Catherine Attao.
NMIFA president and TanHoldings CEO Jerry Tan made a brief appearance at NMTI on Thursday to give closing remarks to the team. In an interview afterwards, Tan said that the outreach was a first for the NMIFA, and was pleased with how it went. He, like Catherine Attao, also spoke on the importance of showing the athletes opportunities that exist for them in the CNMI.
“We put a lot of time into training them. This is our national team [and we’re] preparing them for international competition, but since they’re teenagers they’re also approaching high school graduation, so we have to also think about their future. People always talk about [playing soccer] off-island, going to [the Northern Marianas College], but it’s great to let them also have a chance to know more about NMTI and see if this is the right fit for them, and give them an additional option to consider,” said Tan.
“NMTI has a lot to offer, and that’s why for the NMIFA it’s important to introduce and make them realize that there are additional options available to them as they are pondering on their future and making those important decisions,” he added.