Shirley’s Football Club took the first title at stake in the 3rd President’s Cup held last Saturday at the Hopwood Middle School Field.
Shirley’s prevailed in the co-ed U13B division, clinching the championship after a 1-0 victory over Kanoa FC in the finals. TanHoldings, Kanoa FC-1, and Matansa followed Shirley’s lead and ruled their respective divisions in the annual competition organized by Saipan Soccer School to celebrate the birthday of Northern Mariana Islands Football Association president Jerry Tan.
Holding a twice-to-beat edge in the finals after earning an unbeaten record in the preliminaries, Shirley’s wasted no time in winning the division crown after nosing out Kanoa in Game 1 of the finals.
In the co-ed U13A division, Kanoa-1 also had a twice-to-beat and nearly bungled the advantage when they were defeated by sister team Kanoa-2 in Game 1 of the finals, 1-0. The deciding Game 2 was quickly played after Game 1 and Kanoa-2 regrouped and foiled its foe’s upset bid after escaping with a 2-1 triumph.
In the co-ed U11 division, TanHoldings did not wait for a deciding Game 2 as it topped Matansa right in the first match, 1-0.
It was the same story for TanHoldings in the boys U15/girls U16 contest with the club shutting down Paire 1 in the finals, 2-0.
TanHoldings also made it to the finals of the co-ed U9 division and was favored in the finals as it had a perfect record in the elimination. However, Matansa overcame TanHoldings’ twice-to-beat edge to play a spoiler role in the former’s bid for a third division championship in last weekend’s tournament.
Matansa, TanHoldings’ two champion teams, Kanoa-1, and Shirley’s received medals for their fetes, while individual awards were handed to three players, who had the most goals in the short tournament. Siblings Markus (Kanoa-1) and Merrick Toves (Kanoa-2) took the Golden Boot awards in the U13 and U15 age group, while Shirley’s Jerlyn Castillo got the same trophy for the girls U16 division.
“I would like to congratulate and commend all of you for playing today. When I came here at 8 in the morning, I expect only a few teams since it’s a busy season with a lot of graduation and promotion scheduled this week and last. But, I saw lot of players coming early and getting ready for the games and seeing all of you playing and enjoying the game made me happy,” Tan said.
“I’ve been celebrating my birthday for almost a week, but this part of my birthday is what I look forward every year. I hope to see you next year and the many years to come,” added the NMIFA head, who also acknowledged the players’ parents for supporting their children in every tournament.