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MATAO TO FACE SYRIA, CHINA IN WCQ THIS WEEK

PRESS RELEASE – A total of 22 players will represent Guam when the Matao, Guam men’s national football team, takes on China, PR and Syria – Group A leaders – in this week’s Round 2 matches of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Qualifier of the Asian zone.

Guam will first face China, PR on Thursday at the Guangzhou Tianhe Sports Centre Stadium beginning at 8 p.m. China, PR time (10 p.m. Guam time) and next, will fly to Dubai to play against Syria at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Stadium on Oct. 15. The Guam-Syria fixture will kick off 6 p.m. UAE time (12 midnight, Guam time, Oct. 16).

“The Matao is continuing its mantra of continual improvement and looking to put in a performance better than the last game against the Philippines,” said Karl Dodd, Guam National Head Coach. “We have reviewed the matches from September and identified what we did well and also areas of improvement. We have been working hard on the training park to rectify these areas, along with fine-tuning our tactics for the China match.

“We can expect the Matao to give a good account of ourselves and look to unsettle the Chinese team,” Dodd added.

Guam’s roster of players includes goalkeepers Sean Evans, Elias Jesus, and Alexander Stenson and field players Mark Chargualaf, Joseph Ciochetto, Michael Crowley, Jason Cunliffe, Aidan Dickson, Dominic Gadia, Takumi Ito, Aaron Krueger, Isiah Lagutang, Alexander Lee, Nate Lee, Marcus Lopez, Shane Malcolm, John Matkin, Devan Mendiola, Dylan Naputi, Shawn Nicklaw, Travis Nicklaw, and Ryan Quitugua. 

In addition to Dodd, Guam’s traveling staff includes Assistant Coach Daniel McBreen, Goalkeeper Coach Matthew Ham, Team Manager Ross Awa, Head Physiotherapist Adam Crump, Physiotherapist Jonathan Covich, Sports Psychologist Marcel Noronha, Equipment Manager Thomas Castro, and Assistant Equipment Manager Noah Bamba.

“With the matches coming thick and fast in the back end of the year, this impacts on player availability due to school, college, and work commitments,” Dodd said. “This is where the benefits of an extended talent pool demonstrate its importance with these games giving opportunities to other players within the talent pool.”

The current squad has an average age of about 25 years, with the youngest player, Stenson, at only 16 years old. Notably absent from the current roster from Guam’s most recent World Cup qualifier matches are goalkeeper Dallas Jaye and field players A.J. DeLaGarza, Marlon Evans, Kyle Halehale, Justin Lee, Ian Mariano, and Eddie Na, among others.

Following the pair of October matches, the Matao will close out the year with an away match against the Maldives on Nov. 19. The Round 2 cycle continues in March 2020, with an away match against the Philippines Azkals on Mar. 26, followed by Guam’s home match against China, PR on Mar. 31. The final match for Guam in the qualification round will be a home match against Syria on Jun. 4, 2020.

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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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