The CNMI Boys U18 National Team got its offense going in the second half of its 3-6 loss to Japan’s Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen last Wednesday at the Changnyeong Sports Park in South Korea.
After being silent in the entire first half, the Teen Ayuyus drilled all three goals in the second with Sunjoon Tenorio, James Ermitanio, and Joshua De Leon scoring one apiece in their third training match.
Tenorio, who handed the CNMI its lone goal in their 1-4 defeat at the hands of Kunimi High School last Monday, ended the Commonwealth’s drought against Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen when he converted a penalty kick two minutes into the second half. The second goal came from Ermitanio in the 31st minute off a rebound after Ryan Relucio took a free kick. A minute later, it was De Leon’s turn to hit the board as he intercepted a pass back to Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen’s goalie, stole possession, and converted their foe’s error into a goal.
The Teen Ayuyus had one more goal than Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen in the second half, making up for the four their yielded to the Japanese team in the opening half. Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen tallied two of its goals in the first half off a direct free kick and penalty and the last two early in the second half.
“Coach Mita (Michiteru) said that despite the loss, the last 15 minutes of the game was excellent. Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen players are smaller compared to the two other teams (Kunimi High School and New Yangdong FC), we faced, but they are very quick and have good individual technical skills,” assistant coach Jershwin Angeles said in a message sent to Northern Mariana Islands Football Association, which sent the Teen Ayuyus to South Korea for a five-day training camp and a series of matches against the hosts and Japanese youth squads.
The game against Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen was the CNMI’s penultimate and the latter was scheduled to play its last against South Korea’s Gwangju FC yesterday morning.
“Hopefully, all the players will give their all and show their best performance in our last game,” said Angeles, adding that 19 out of the 20 players of the squad saw action against Kyoto Kyoei Gakuen. Eun Syu Hahn missed last Wednesday’s game as he was not feeling well, while Ermitanio and De Leon rested early (due to slight fever) heading into the Teen Ayuyus’ final match.
Meanwhile, the squad’s morning training session last Wednesday was called off due to rain so coach Mita decided to have a lecture and meeting instead.
“Each player shared their dream to the team and coaches and most of them wanted to become a professional soccer player. We then motivate them to achieve their dream, shared stories of some well known people and athletes that succeeded in life and followed their dreams,” Angeles said.
After the personal discussion, the Teen Ayuyus had their usual “study time,” as they watched the Champion’s League game between Barcelona and Juventus.
“Players analyzed both teams on how they attack, defend, make formation, execute tactics, and transition. They then presented their thoughts to the team,” said Angeles, who left Korea with the squad yesterday evening and they are scheduled to arrive on Saipan this morning.