Saipan Tribune, Sunday, July 15, 2007
NMIFA keeps interest in soccer going
By Jon Perez
The Northern Mariana Islands Football Association kept the interest of football going especially to its new players by opening a Co-ed Recreational League last Tuesday at the Airport Field.
NMIFA director Vince Stravino said they opened the co-ed recreational league to generate interest in the sport and to attract more new players for the upcoming leagues.
Stravino said the co-ed league attracted a lot of new players that joined the veterans in the four competing teams, namely: the Fiesta Pirates, the Wild Bill's, Pika Raiders, and Guns 'N Roses.
Stravino said the league was conceptualized to give the players a venue to practice their skills and for them to have something to do after work. “It also gives the new players the chance to learn the game and at the same time play against veteran players who already knew the game.”
Stravino said they will not keep track of the scores and standings of each game. “This league is only created to let the players have fun playing.”
Stravino added that next month, two 35-and-over teams from Hong Kong and Macau are going to visit Saipan and play against local teams. The teams are due to arrive on Saipan on Aug. 4.
A new football coach is also due to arrive late this year who will work with the youth, women's, and men's teams for one year.
NMIFA is also set to open the Summer Men's Open League on July 22. The league was originally scheduled to open on July 15 but organizers decided to postpone the start to give teams more time to prepare for the upcoming season.
The NMIFA held the inaugural Marcos Alonso Cup in February where eight teams competed. The season opened in November last year.
The Inaugural Marcos Alonso Cup ended its season in February with L&S Kyune/Seung defeating Real Mariana in the finals. The league was named in honor of former CNMI coach Marcos Alonso, who moved back to Argentina late last year.
The competing teams in the summer league are squads from the Korean Football Association, the Bangladeshi community, the traditionally strong Inter squad, Team Independent, and a newly formed team composed of internationals from the previous PTI team.
Two games will be played every Sunday with one team earning a bye. The standings will be kept where each team earns points based on the number of goals and their wins.
An intra-island derby between the top two teams after the season will be held to determine the champion of the season. Schedule of all matches are pending at this time but games will run from July 22 to mid September.
The registration fee for players is $20 and each player is also required to provide their own shin guards for the games.
Stravino added players are also required to obtain photo identification from Quick Print at Middle Road in Garapan after they register. The cost of the photo identification is $5 and the identification card is a requirement for a player to participate in the game.
Interested teams, players, or volunteering as a referee or official can contact Stravino at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.