TINIAN—The Shirley’s Football Club U16 Girls and Women’s teams visited Tinian on President’s Day weekend for a friendly tournament against Tinian Premier Football Club. The visiting club was made up of 27 players, two officials, and a few parent supporters.
The tournament was organized as a reward for the hard-work Shirley’s players showed for the past year.
“Both our U15 girls and women’s teams worked really hard in 2017. We bagged a few championships and also lost some, but it was really the sportsmanship displayed throughout the year that convinced us the players deserved something special,” Shirley’s FC girls U15 coach Marrielle Gariguez, who also suited up for the club’s women’s squad.
“We thought about ways to make the players feel proud about their performance for the past two seasons and at the same time, we also wanted them to have a good team bonding trip,” said Angie Ito, who was one of the organizers of the event and also played for the visiting team.
The team decided that Tinian was a better option as it served a dual purpose.
“Most players always look forward to traveling to Guam because of the many exciting things the island has to offer. However, we firmly decided to go to Tinian because we felt that the players would be able to truly bond better there with less distractions; and at the same time, we could help Tinian with their soccer program,” said organizer Marilou Arriola.
The host club welcomed Shirley’s FC players and officials and Tinian Premier hopes more teams will visit the island so they can enjoy playing the sport together.
“Our youth continues to benefit from the opportunities to play on Saipan and against Saipan teams. They take pride in representing their island and showcasing their skills. They build self esteem, important character traits, but most importantly it motivates them to keep physically active and build lasting memories,” Tinian Premier FC’s Arley Long said.
“Today the importance of physical activity is stronger than ever, as it improves health and we have enough validation that a fit child or adult is more likely to be well rested, prevent chronic diseases and stay mentally sharp. We would like to extend a big thank you to our coach and councilman Phillip Long, junior coaches Jared King, J.C. Guintu, Chit Acollador, Chad Acollador,Edgard AcolladorJr, Tasi Long, Cielo Long, and Isa Long, TPFC coordinator Rosalyn Acollador. Thank you, too to Tinian Mayor’s Office for continuing to support TPFC, Jerry Tan, Bridge Investment Group, and the rest of our island communities,” she added.
The tournament between Shirley’s FC and Tinian Premier featured mini games which resulted in three wins for the host and two for the visiting club. The first game was for girls U16 players and Shirley’s prevailed, 6-0. For the second match, it was the women’s team’s turn to play and this time Tinian won, 1-0. Shirley’s women’s squad also challenged the host’s boys U15 crew and the latter came out victorious in the third match of the day, 5-1. Tinian’s third victory came from its co-ed U15 team, which shut down the Shirley’s women’s crew, 2-0. For the final game of the day, Shirley’s girls U16 players avenged their earlier lost to Tinian with a 1-0 victory.
“Both clubs were very happy to have a friendly tournament, stressing how very important it is for the development of NMI soccer. Tinian needs help. The island has great, strong players that can play at the national team level. Unfortunately, because of the distance, it is difficult for them to train with the rest of the players on Saipan,” Ito said.
“We need to keep encouraging other teams and clubs to come to Tinian to help them with their soccer program and have our kids enjoy the island’s beauty at the same time,” added Arriola.
Besides the mini matches, Tinian Premier and Shirley’s FC also had a beachside barbeque.
“It was really nice seeing all the players relaxed, enjoying the food and each other’s company. TPFC were great hosts,” said Arriola.
Meanwhile, Shirley’s FC would like to thank the following for helping make this tournament possible: Arley and Phillip Long and the rest of the Tinian Premier FC, Mayor Joey P. San Nicolas, Senator Jude Hofschneider, The Super Emerald, Norman Tenorio, Shirley’s Coffee Shop, Tan Siu Lin Foundation, and the parents of the players.