CNMI national youth team players Sunjoon Tenorio and Khristelle Itaas appreciate the support they are getting from the community and helping in the recovery efforts after Super Typhoon Yutu struck Saipan is the perfect time to return the favor.
Tenorio and Itaas were among the 14 players and four Northern Mariana Islands Football Association staff members who conducted a cleanup drive at the Koblerville Elementary School last Saturday. KES was one of the schools hit by the Category 5 typhoon late last month.
“Koblerville Elementary School has been supporting our national team for so long so I was glad to help them out as well. We felt that because of how much support they show us, it is only right to help clean their campus. Also, the whole island is always behind our team, so we need to show that we appreciate them as well,” said Tenorio, who used to play at the KES pitch when he was still in the lower age group of the NMIFA Youth League.
Tenorio and company cleaned up the Hugging Umangs’ campus for about three hours, picking up debris and clearing the field.
“With KES as one of the facilities we play in, many of us felt that it is our duty to step up and help clean the school after the super typhoon. It could also speed up the process of allowing students to return to school. I also think the teamwork we had as a national team made it a lot easier. As girls, we aren’t as strong as the boys, but together we managed to lift many things and clear up as much debris as possible,” Itaas said.
“This is one way I could give back to both NMIFA and PSS for all the opportunities and assistance they provided me. In addition, I enjoy volunteering. I feel that it brings out the good in me and is the best way to help the community, especially after the destruction caused by Super Typhoon Yutu,” she added.
NMIFA technical director and head coach Michiteru Mita is proud to have responsible national team players on and off the pitch. He also said that it is just right to help KES, which has been backing up NMIFA programs.
“KES is always very supportive of our soccer programs. Also KES is our neighbor and if neighbors suffer, it is normal to help each other. I saw big damage in KES—building collapsed and windows were broken. We should hold cleanups at KES several more times,” Mita said.
“Many people on the island are still struggling to recover and get back to their normal life. We are willing to help the community and the kids. Our national teams always get many support from the community, so it is the national team players and coaches’ responsibility to contribute to the community, too,” added Mita, who was joined in the cleanup by assistant coach Jersh Angeles.