When Former J League player Dan Ito bids for a Guinness World Record, the CNMI would be part of that history.
Ito played in the 2019 Spring Men’s M-League last Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville and suited up for the Old B Bank. The Japanese is gunning for the record for “playing for most number of countries, with the Commonwealth stop marking his 22nd.
“I am excited to play here and see what kind of football game does this island play,” said Ito, who also managed to watch the game between Korean Football Association on Saipan and Matansa before he played for the Old B Bank in its match versus TanHoldings Football Club.
Ito went on to score the last goal in Old B Bank’s 4-1 victory over TanHoldings, as he lit up the board in the 86th minute.
The 43-year-old is now back in Guam where he is playing for the Rovers FC in Division 1 of the Budweiser Guam Men’s Soccer League. Besides Guam and the CNMI, the midfielder has seen action in his home country, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Maldives, Hong Kong, Macau, and India.
“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to play in many countries and experience different cultures,” said Ito, who hinted at retirement after more than 20 years in the sport.
“I am not getting any younger and I want to move to another phase of my career, maybe try coaching, beginning in the youth level, just like what my friends do,” the Hokkaido native said.
Ito added he hopes to return to Saipan and stay longer so he can meet more players and possibly hold clinics here.
“I would love to share my knowledge in the sport. I know Saipan like football very much and many youth are interested in it. The facility is great and more people will come here in the future to play or train,” the former Sendai University player said.