PRESS RELEASE – For the first time in over a decade, Guam has been selected to play host to an AFC-level tournament – the AFC U16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers – at the Guam Football Association National Training Facility Nov. 6-10.
“Being a director for women’s football, this has been my long desired goal to host (an AFC) tournament in Guam,” said Cheri Stewart, who also is the Local Organizing Committee chairwoman. “It is finally here and it is our goal to make it a successful and wonderful experience for the teams, officials, soccer community and business prospects.
“Our women’s football (program) has been strong in its organization and training but more importantly, the parents are the best supporters with a few other business prospects and the soccer community. It is time to make a go at it,” added Stewart.
The tournament in Guam will feature Group D participants – the best U16 women’s teams from Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei compete against Guam to advance to the Championship. Guam will play in the opening match against Hong Kong Nov. 6. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. at GFA and admission is free for all spectators.
Concurrently, Group A participants – Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, and Palestine – will compete in Jordan. Group B participants – Iran, India, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan – will compete in Sri Lanka. The Philippines will play host to Group C competitors Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, and the host country. The groups are based primarily on geographical region.
Defending champion Japan, along with North Korea, South Korea, and China have already advanced to the next stage.
“The goal is to advance to the next round and show our home fans how amazing these girls are,” said Kristin Thompson, Guam U16 Women’s Head Coach. “When you get the best girls on island together, they can compete with the other countries in AFC at the highest level of competition for their age bracket.
“We are training hard to go out strong in the first game against Hong Kong. Chinese Taipei will be a hard game, but I know the girls can beat them, too. They have been training hard and have sacrificed a lot to be at training every night and to learn together as a team,” Thompson added.
In the previous edition of the tournament, Guam’s U16 Women’s National team came in second place to Vietnam in the first qualification round; however, Guam was pooled in Group A against Philippines, Singapore, Timor Leste and Vietnam. Guam finished with three wins and conceded one loss to Vietnam, which won all four of its matches. Guam blanked Timor-Leste and the Philippines 4-0 and 2-0, respectively, and won 2-1 against Singapore. Returning to tryouts from that same team are Abbey Iriarte, Tayler Kukes, and goalkeeper Mya Sanchez.
“Since requirements must be met to AFC standards, this tournament requires volunteers and financial support to ensure it is successful,” Stewart said. “We are welcoming all members of the community interest in supporting a women’s sporting event in Guam with manpower and sponsorship.
“Our goal is to bring out all the fans from schools, businesses and clubs to join us and enjoy a well-produced competition while cheering Guam team during its matches against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei,” Stewart added.
For more information about the tournament or for more information regarding sponsorship and volunteering for the event, call the GFA Main Office at 637-4321 or E-mail [email protected]
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