No fall season, no problem for Sunjoon


Sunjoon Tenorio works with the CNMI Men’s National Team during a training session at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville last month. (Contributed Photo)

Sunjoon Tenorio will have to wait until next year to debut with Warner Pacific University and sees no problem stalling his return to the collegiate ranks.

The CNMI striker said the WPU Knights won’t be competing this fall season and instead games will be held in spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I ended up staying here on Saipan as my season was postponed to spring. I am also just doing online classes and will join my new team in January,” said Tenorio, who was originally set to leave the island for Portland, Oregon late last month, but had change of plans when the suspension of the soccer season was announced.

In this 2018 file photo, the CNMI’s Sunjoon Tenorio goes for a header against a Macau player during their game in the EAFF E-1 Football Championships 2019 Round 1 at the Mongolian Football Federation Stadium in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. (Contributed Photo)

The many-time CNMI National Team member would have played his sophomore year with the Warner Pacific this month after a very impressive rookie season with Suffolk University in Boston. With the Rams, Tenorio earned Team MVP and Rookie of the Year honors and was the first Suffolk University to have won three straight Rookie of the Week awards in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. He finished his freshman year with a team-high 10 goals after seeing action in 15 of the Rams’ 16 matches. Tenorio, despite his rookie status with Suffolk University, was a regular starter for the team, making it on the First 11 roster in 12 games.

With his successful debut in the collegiate ranks, Tenorio was looking to pick up where he left off with WPU and the higher-level competition in their group (Cascade Collegiate Conference) in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. However, the pandemic came and the CNMI had to stay put.

In this 2019 file photo, CNMI captain Sunjoon Tenorio, second left, poses with game officials and his counterpart in Brunei before the start of their game in Group G of the Asian Football Confederation U19 Championship 2020 Qualifiers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Contributed Photo)

Despite the bump in his journey in the collegiate ranks, Tenorio is sticking to the positives and will use the “offseason” to get ready for the next competition and work with the CNMI National Team.

“I am using the postponement to better prepare myself for the upcoming season. Although it is not ideal, it will give me more time to get my body right and get in better shape,” said Tenorio, who came home in May and rejoin the Blue Ayuyus’ restricted training sessions at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville the following month. “While I am here, I will continue to train with the national team and keep preparing for the season.”

The CNMI Men’s National Team is training for the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Men’s Football Championship 2021 Preliminary Round 1.

In this 2018 file photo, the CNMI’s Sunjoon Tenorio dribbles away from Guam defenders during their game in the EAFF E-1 Football Championships 2019 Round 1 at the Mongolian Football Federation Stadium in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. (Contributed Photo)

Though he still has to wait for several months before he resumes playing in the collegiate ranks, Tenorio’s excitement over his new team and new competition remains high. He is not also discouraged with the temporary setback in his ultimate goal—to play in the pro league.

“I am looking forward to playing with my new teammates and in a more competitive division. I am excited to test my abilities against the new competition. I stay motivated by remembering what my end goal is and why I started playing in the first place. With that in mind, my motivation does not fade, but instead grows more,” the former MP United Football Club captain said.

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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