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WORLD CUP: RAIF HEADS TO RUSSIA

Raif heads to Russia

(11-year-old Raif Sablan is the GSPN correspondence to Russia, covering his first ever World Cup experience. This is Part I.)

Hafa Adai! My name is Raif Sablan and I love soccer. This summer, I’m going on an adventure of a lifetime. When I was seven-years-old, I watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil on TV and I dreamed of going someday.

Raif Sablan (right) is on an adventure of a lifetime as he just landed in Russia to watch the World Cup along with his buddy Gavin Baker. Raif will be sharing his experience as our young GSPN correspondent at the World Cup.

Today, along with my dad (Greg), I landed in Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. My friend and team mate Gavin Baker and his family also came along because, who doesn’t want to go to the World Cup? I want to bring all the GSPN readers (especially Guam’s youth soccer players like me) along on the adventure too!

I play in the Aloha Maid Minetgot U13 Elite League for Wings Football Club, train with the U12 Center of Excellence at GFA and with ZES Football Club.

Soccer is a big part of my life. I’m looking forward to watching professional players like Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Timo Werner, Robert Lewandowski, Glyfi Sigurdsson, and Sadio Mane and many more. I know that seeing them will inspire me to work even harder because they’re the best in the world! I hope I can get some autographs, too.

I’m also looking forward to meeting up with my friends and teammates from Wings FC and COE, Riku Meyer and Raito Atsuta who were sent to Russia by GFA. It’s going to be exciting and I’m thankful to GSPN for letting me bring you along on the adventure!

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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