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FIFA FOOTBALL FOR SCHOOLS FESTIVAL

Sixteen elementary schools take part in inaugural event

PRESS RELEASE – Over 1,000 participants, volunteers, and supporters took part in the inaugural FIFA Football for Schools Festival Jamboree at the Guam Football Association National Training Center Saturday.

A total of 32 teams from 16 elementary schools played at least three matches during the day, with group-leading teams earning a bonus match at the end of the festival.

For 11-year-old Koah Reyes, he said enjoyed the feeling of winning games, but also reveled in the fun aspect of the game among his peers.

“We got to have a lot of fun today and this festival was good because a lot of schools – 16 schools – got to participate,” said Reyes, a fifth-grader at Harvest Christian Academy. “I hope GFA can have more events like this for us, so even more schools can participate and more people can enjoy soccer.”

Teams from Adacao Elementary School (pink) and Talofofo Elementary School (yellow) play in a match of the inaugural FIFA Football for Schools Festival Saturday at the Guam Football Association National Training Center. A total of 16 schools took part in the festival and have implemented the FIFA Football for School program in their respective physical education curriculum or as an after-school activity.

The day of festival matches began at 8:30 a.m. with a parade featuring each participating school wearing an array of colored FIFA Football for Schools shirts. Once all players and coaches marched on the field, event VIPs and dignitaries joined the students. The Hon. Joshua Tenorio, Lieutenant Governor of Guam, Jon Fernandez, GDOE Superintendent, and George Lai, GFA Vice President addressed the students and supporters with welcome speeches. Other VIP guests at the event were Speaker Therese Terlaje, Senator Amanda Shelton, and GFA Executive Committee members Fred Alig II, Tina Esteves, Duane Pahl, and Gian Tenorio, all led to the pitch by Sang Hoon Kim and Sakiko Ogura, Head Coaches of the Guam Men’s National Team and Guam Women’s National Team, respectively.

Lt. Gov. Tenorio, Fernandez, and Lai each took turns shooting a soccer ball into a goal to officially begin the festival.

“I’m so excited that we’re taking part in this – our students and our parents as well,” said Julie Salas, Principal of Upi Elementary School. “I really hope this continues as an annual festival because it is such a wonderful event for all our students around the island.”

Teams from M.U. Lujan Elementary School (bright yellow) and Maria Ulloa Elementary School (green) play in a match of the inaugural FIFA Football for Schools Festival Saturday at the Guam Football Association National Training Center. A total of 16 schools took part in the festival and have implemented the FIFA Football for School program in their respective physical education curriculum or as an after-school activity.

The 16 participating schools were Adacao Elementary School, Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School, C.L. Taitano Elementary School, D.L. Perez Elementary School, Guahan Academy Charter School, Harvest Christian Academy, Inarajan Elementary School, Marcial Sablan Elementary School, Maria Ulloa Elementary School, Merizo Martyrs Memorial School, M.U. Lujan Elementary School, P.C. Lujan Elementary School, Capt. H.B. Price Elementary School, Talofofo Elementary School, Upi Elementary School, and Wettengel Elementary School. 

The festival matches featured youth referees from the Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth League officiating all matches and school volunteers assisting throughout the day. The event also included complimentary ice cream treats from Quality Distributors, as well as food and drinks for purchase from Fizz and Co. School supporters and parents also were encouraged to bring snacks and hydration beverages for the players, with each school setting up under canopies provided by GFA.

The festival is only one component of the FIFA Football for Schools Program. GFA also has teamed up with the Guam Airport Police to provide anti-bullying and character-building presentations at the schools. The first presentation of the program was delivered Friday afternoon at Maria Ulloa Elementary School.

To support the soccer-training component of the program, GFA donated equipment, such as goals, soccer balls, sets of bibs, cones, and markers, to all participating schools. GFA coaches made visits to schools to conduct sample training sessions with students.

School teachers and coaches will be able to continue to implement soccer as part of their respective school’s physical education curriculum or as an after-school activity with the help of a FIFA Football for Schools mobile application, which features fun training sessions for young athletes each paired with a life skill to learn and reinforce on and off the pitch.

“I’ve already been receiving calls from other schools about how to be part of the FIFA Football for Schools program,” said Sam San Gil, GFA Football Events Director. “We definitely want to include more schools into the program and to get more young athletes on the pitch to enjoy the sport. After today’s event, I’m sure the kids are excited to continue playing.

“We have more youth soccer activities lined up for this summer including the AFC Grassroots Football Day festival on May 21, and the start of the first-ever youth futsal tournament and league next month, leading into the next Triple J Auto Group Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League for the 2022 Fall season,” San Gil added.

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