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VISAS IN, MATAO READY FOR IRAN

Team Matao (#146), currently in Japan training for their next World Cup Qualifier match, is expected to receive their Iranian visas today and fly out to Tehran later tonight in time for their Sept 3rd match against Iran (#41).

PRESS RELEASE – After a weeklong training camp in Osaka, Japan, the Matao will depart this evening for Tehran ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Joint Qualification Round 2 match with I.R. Iran on Thursday.

With all the players now in camp after the arrival of LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza yesterday the team and staff are fully focused on what is likely to be the biggest challenge the side has faced in many years.

Head Coach Gary White said the training camp was of immense benefit and he already feels that there is a new intensity amongst the playing group.

“Right from the moment that the first of the local players arrived here in Osaka I’ve noticed there’s a real edge to how they have gone about their preparation,” White said. “That only increased after the arrival of the overseas-based boys and we’ve had a solid week of work.”

Guam national football team head coach Gary White directs a Matao training session during the team's training camp at J-GREEN Sakai in Osaka, Japan. The team engaged in a one-week training camp at the Japan training facility ahead of its 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Joint Qualification Round 2 match against I.R. Iran scheduled for Sept. 3 at Azadi Stadium. The team is scheduled to depart Monday evening to Tehran. Also photographed is Matao player Brandon McDonald.

Guam national football team head coach Gary White directs a Matao training session during the team’s training camp at J-GREEN Sakai in Osaka, Japan. The team engaged in a one-week training camp at the Japan training facility ahead of its 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Joint Qualification Round 2 match against I.R. Iran scheduled for Sept. 3 at Azadi Stadium. The team is scheduled to depart Monday evening to Tehran. Also photographed is Matao player Brandon McDonald.

While the beginning of the camp was focused on recovery and conditioning work, led by the team’s new Head of Sports Science, Andrew Young, the latter stages have been heavily centered on tactical preparation with the side also playing a local college team to help implement some of the ideas White has been working on in training.

“That match was not about the result but all about how we want to play,” White said. “We had the team mirror how we think Iran will be likely to play and we’re very appreciative of them working with us and also to a close friend of mine who spoke to the team beforehand, former Japanese national captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto.

“We know the size of the challenge we are faced with, up against a team that has won several Asian Cups and which has been a regular qualifier for World Cups. That’s the position that we want to put ourselves in, that’s where we want to be and with the full support of everyone at the GFA we are working towards that common goal,” White added.

That backing has extended to the recent appointment of Young, a highly-regarded sports scientist, who has previously worked with the Australian national team and English Premier League clubs Fulham and Blackburn.

As White explains he has brought a new edge to the team.

 Guam national football team players Mason Grimes (left) and Travis Nicklaw (right) pair up for a warm up activity during a recent Matao training session at J-GREEN Sakai in Osaka, Japan. Grimes, Nicklaw, and the rest of the team engaged in a one-week training camp at the Japan training facility.

Guam national football team players Mason Grimes (left) and Travis Nicklaw (right) pair up for a warm up activity during a recent Matao training session at J-GREEN Sakai in Osaka, Japan. Grimes, Nicklaw, and the rest of the team engaged in a one-week training camp at the Japan training facility.

“We’ve never really had someone like Andrew before and he has immensely helped our preparation,” White said. “Thanks to his contacts at GPS Sports he has brought a GPS unit for every member of the squad and he collates individual and group-based data on a daily basis which has really helped us with injury prevention and conditioning.

“In conjunction with the rest of my staff, who have been as always first class this is a real team effort from everyone both here and back in Guam as we face a huge challenge in Tehran,” White added.

The 20-man squad is set to depart Kansai Airport on Monday night and arrive into the Iranian capital on Tuesday morning, local time.

In addition to DeLaGarza, players on Guam’s roster are team captain Jason Cunliffe, goalkeepers Douglas Herrick and Dallas Jaye, Alexander Lee, Jonahan Romero, Travis Nicklaw, Micah Paulino, Mason Grimes, John Matkin, Justin Lee, Ian Mariano, Dylan Naputi, Ryan Guy, Brandon McDonald, Shawn Nicklaw, Min Sung Choi, Scott Leon Guerrero, Jan-Willem Staman, and Shane Malcolm.

On the staff are White, Young, assistant coach Mark Chargualaf, goalkeeper coach Adrian Creamer, team manager Ross Awa, physiotherapists Richard Coombs and David Scott Edwards, team trainer Ian Lawton, equipment manager Bradley Miller, media officer Scott McIntyre, team doctor Dr. Saied Safabaksh, and team translator Mersedeh Maddah.

The team is scheduled to play I.R. Iran at 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at Azadi Stadium in Tehran. After the match against Iran, the team will make its 30-hour trek back to Guam to play against Oman. The match against Oman is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

Tickets still are on sale for the Sept. 8 match against Oman at the GFA Main Office. The office is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For information, call 637-4321.

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