Teen Ayuyus stand out; U15 drops debut


The CNMI Girls U15 National Team players huddle before their game against Shanghai Jinshan District U15 in the EAFF U15 Girls Tournament 2017 in Shanghai, China last Sunday. (Contributed Photo)

The Commonwealth’s two youth teams had mixed fortunes with the U18 training pool having a productive training camp in Guam and the CNMI Girls U15 National Team losing its debut in the EAFF U15 Girls Tournament 2017 in Shanghai, China.

The Teen Ayuyus capped their five-day training camp with a 2-0 victory over University of Guam yesterday, 2-0. Sunjoon Tenorio scored the pair of goals for the training pool, which nearly swept their training matches in Guam, winning three of their four games.

Tenorio also made all the goals for the pool in their 3-0 triumph over Wings FC Red last Sunday, while he contributed one in the Teen Ayuyus’ 6-0 demolition of Wings FC Black last April 14. Joshua Deleon knocked in a pair of goals in the pool’s first victory, while Mareko Tekopua, Alex Park, and Dai Podziewski chipped in one apiece. Quality Distributor handed the visiting squad its lone loss last Saturday, 1-0.

The pool had a training camp in Guam in preparation for its participation in the 2018 AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers, which will be held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 8 with the venues yet to be announced. The CNMI is in the East Zone of the qualifiers and will be playing in Group D against Macau, Cambodia, Brunei, and Guam. Only the top finisher in each group will qualify to next year’s finals.

Meanwhile, the CNMI U15 team bowed to Shanghai Jinshan District U15 Team, 0-7, in its first match in the EAFF competition last Sunday.

According to team manager Mikky Vargas, the Commonwealth players struggled in the bigger and grassy pitch at the Jinshan Sports Center, while the hosts capitalized on their familiarity with the field.

“Our girls had a difficult time adjusting to the size of the field and the thickness of the grass. Today (last Sunday) they played on a standard adult sized field that is much larger than the field dimensions they are used to. Also, a lot of their passes were not connecting. Because of the fullness of the grass on the field, a lot of their balls were not traveling far or fast enough and our passes were easily intercepted. The size of the field and thickness of the grass made it very difficult for the team to transition from defense to offense. It was obvious in their performance during the first couple of minutes of the game that the girls were very nervous,” Vargas said in an email sent to Saipan Tribune.

“For this match, Jinshan was definitely the stronger team. They were quick to pressure, organized in both defense and offense and had good passing quality and very strong chemistry,” Vargas added.

Despite losing their first match, Vargas said the coaching staff headed by Olympian Luam Khen Koo lauded the team’s efforts as they fought for every possession all throughout the game.

Up next for the CNMI U15 is Chinese-Taipei and Koo and company are hoping that the squad will be more relaxed and confident in the second game as it will face a much tougher team this afternoon. For its final game, the Commonwealth will duel Mongolia (on April 20).

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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