GUAM FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

Guam tops Group D in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Asia

[June 17, 2015 - Harmon, Guam] After winning its first-ever FIFA World Cup Qualifier match Jun. 11, the Matao came back an even stronger team to win its second-straight, catapulting the team to the top of Group D standings after two matches.

The Matao played to a 2-1 victory over India in front of a capacity crowd at the Guam Football Association National Training Center Tuesday after having beaten Turkmenistan 1-0 five days earlier. In addition to Turkmenistan and India, Guam also leads I.R. Iran, Asia’s top country, and Oman in the same group.

“If I said we’re not surprised (that we are on top of Group D), I would sound arrogant, but that was the plan,” said Guam head coach Gary White in a post-match press conference. “We knew that these first two games were important to get going. We knew that we had the home crowd and home field advantage. We knew that this would be a difficult place for anyone to come to play so we had to get maximum points. That’s what we set out to do.

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Guam Matao notches historic World Cup Qualifier win

[June 12, 2015 - Harmon, Guam] Thousands of fans mobbed players from the Matao for photos and autographs after its historic, first-ever FIFA World Cup Qualifier win in Guam Thursday at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

Guam defeated visiting Turkmenistan 1-0 to open the team’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier campaign, which includes seven other group-stage matches extended to March of next year. The match also was the first-ever FIFA World Cup Qualifiers event held in Guam.

“It’s a great feeling to be part of Guam’s first-ever victory in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, and it’s an even greater feeling to achieve this feat in front of a home crowd that continues to support the team,” said Gary J. White, Matao head coach. “The structure, the organization, the passion that our players have has never been questioned. We looked like we were a team that has been together for a long time – that gives you an idea of how close we are as a family.

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Matao's Romero to play professionally in Mongolia

[April 24, 2015 - Harmon, Guam] Guam’s success in recent months leading up to automatic qualification to the second round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers continues to open doors to Asia’s professional football leagues, with the selection of the Matao’s Jonahan Romero to Khoromkhon FC, defending champion of Mongolia’s premier league, as the latest signing.

“With the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers coming up, I felt that I needed to be training and playing at a high level constantly,” said Romero, who will be departing to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia the first week of May. “I’d been going on a few trials with clubs in different Asian countries and it came down to contract negotiations. My agent, who’s based in the U.S., told me that playing for this club would open more doors for me, since it’s less difficult to go from one professional club to another, instead of taking a break like I had done.

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Guam drawn in Group D of World Cup Qualifier

[April 14, 2015 - Harmon, Guam] FIFA World Cup fever spiked for about an hour during Asia’s Round 2 draw for the 2018 edition of the tournament, streamed live from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia via the Asian Football Confederation Web site.

Drawn with Guam in Group D are I.R. Iran, Oman, India, and Turkmenistan. Matches will begin in June through to March next year.

“It will take the support of the entire community in Guam and supporters abroad for the team to be successful in Round 2 of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers,” said Richard Lai, president of Guam Football Association. “For the first time, Guam qualified automatically for Round 2 of the World Cup qualifiers and the team is at a level that can fully compete with the countries in the group. I am proud of the work of the entire GFA organization, including all players – past and present – who have helped Guam achieve what is has to date.”

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Matao's Grimes signs pro contract; pro club now affiliated with Guam FA

[April 4, 2015 - Harmon, Guam] Confidence gained from sharing in the Matao’s success at the EAFF East Asian Cup Semifinal Round last year in Chinese Taipei helped clear the path for a professional playing career for Guam central defender Mason Grimes.

Grimes recently signed a contract with USL team Tulsa Roughnecks FC after impressing coaches at a soccer combine in Ventura, Calif. in January. Gary White, Guam national team head coach and Guam Football Association technical director, also attended the combine and established a close relationship with club coaches to evaluate and possibly sign more players from Guam ready for the professional level.

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