Public School System officials, school representatives, Northern Mariana Islands Football Association officers, players and supporters pose for a group photo after the uniform donation turnover ceremony Monday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

THE Northern Mariana Islands Football Association on Monday presented uniforms and kits to nine public elementary schools, five middle schools and five high schools at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

“Uniforms have always been a big topic for the NMIFA so we hope that providing them to the players will bring some added excitement, motivation and pride to the schools and teams playing soccer in our competitions,” NMIFA executive director Ruselle Zapanta said.

“We know funding for schools toward interscholastic sports can be a challenge so we decided to help,” he added.

NMIFA’s funding sources are a grant provided by the Japan Football Association’s Youth Development Program, and a donation from Whit Altizer and his wife Lindsey who organized a fundraiser in memory of his father Doc.

“His father was big on recreation sports and was  a coach so Whit  decided to support NMIFA, and decided that his contributions would best be put into helping our youth through the Interscholastic Soccer League,” Zapanta said.

He added that the donated uniforms may be used for other school activities besides soccer.

"We hope the uniforms will also improve the quality and the professionalism of our soccer leagues,” he added.

For his part, NMIFA president Jerry Tan said they want interscholastic soccer on Saipan to be as big as it is on Guam.

“We want to be able to fill up the NMI Soccer Training Center with fans from around the islands,” he added. “At NMIFA we believe in the benefit that sports can bring to a person’s well-being, especially at an early age.”

Present to receive the donated uniforms on Monday were Education Commissioner Alfred Ada, Public School System senior director Yvonne Pangelinan and PSS athletic program director Nick Gross.

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