How the NMI U15 boys soccer team beat self-doubt — and Macau

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IN the second half of episode 8 of Footcast with Norman Del Rosario, the NMI U15 Boys National Team  members recounted what their thoughts were before their game against Macau in the East Asia Football Federation or EAFF tournament in 2011.

Before earning the  first international soccer victory of the NMI, the boys said they participated in a training camp in Japan with various other teams. The NMI boys were given a taste of what the upcoming competition had to offer as they suffered double-digit defeats during the training games.

The losing streak continued at the EAFF event. “At this point it had been our second or third entry into the EAFF tournament and we had lost by double digits in almost every game — I was  frustrated by how bad I was doing,” Kenneth Domingo said.

Jireh Yobech said he felt “overwhelmed after the first couple of games…. I was doubting whether I could compete and contribute. I was nervous and really discouraged….”

Billy Henson said he had similar negative thoughts.

 

The NMI U15 Boys huddle before a game. Contributed photo 

They were also playing in Taiwan, which had a huge stadium. “This one was big,” Andrew Johnson said. “It was a cool experience and it really felt international so every game I went into I felt a lot of pressure.”

But many of the NMI boys did what they could to keep the team spirit alive. “I just wanted to win,” Jehn Joyner said. “So I tried to hype myself up as much as possible. Bring a striker, I wanted to make a goal and when I did, it felt good. It was worth it.”

Hunter Jewell said he was “trying to bring as much energy as I could, and making sure all the guys recognized the opportunity to get that first win.”

The NMI boys mustered enough strength to take over the second half to score their very first victory by edging Macau, 2-1.

“After the win I felt the like I still had a reason to continue playing with the national team,” Jireh Yobech said.

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