Suzuki Konomi: Head Coach of U-17/U-20 Northern Mariana Islands National Teams

Life in the Northern Mariana Islands: A Coach’s Perspective

SUZUKI Konomi, head coach of the U-17 and U-20 Northern Mariana Islands National Teams, shared insights into his experiences abroad. Despite initial challenges, he found comfort in the close-knit community of the Mariana Islands, where locals treat each other like family.

The football landscape in the Mariana Islands differs from traditional setups, with national team training held three times a week due to limited club practices. SUZUKI oversees both the U-20+ and U-17 teams, fostering player development and synergy among different age groups.

In the EAFF U15 Men’s Championship 2023, the U-15 Mariana Islands National Team faced tough competition, losing all matches but gaining valuable experience for future tournaments. Looking ahead, preparations have begun for the AFC U20/U17 Asian Cup 2025 Qualifiers in 2024.

Football in the Mariana Islands continues to evolve, with NMIFA’s growth as an AFC member association driving the sport’s popularity. Challenges such as economic setbacks and population decline spur efforts to increase football participation and improve league quality.

Under the tutelage of former NMIFA Technical Director Mr. MITA Michiteru, local coaches have enhanced their skills through AFC coaching courses, paving the way for sustainable football development. SUZUKI remains committed to nurturing these coaches and fostering a vibrant football culture on the islands.

Aligned with NMIFA President Jerry TAN’s vision of bringing happiness through football, SUZUKI and the Mariana Islands football community strive to further enhance the sport’s impact and reach within the region.

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