Sports psychology key in elite athletes development

[June 10, 2019 - Harmon, Guam] Playing a sport at the highest level can take a toll on an elite athlete – both physically and mentally – with recovery in both areas key for top performance.

Guam’s national football teams have consistently included strength and conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, trainers, and team doctors; in the current Matao set up, the team now has added Sports Psychologist Marcel Noronha from Australia to its staff.

“Sports psychology focuses on how our mental state can impact athletic performance,” Noronha said. “Just like you would see a strength and conditioning coach to get stronger, fitter, and faster, you go and see a Sports Psychologist to train your mind. After all, it is your mind that regulates the body. Top teams and athletes understand the importance of the mental game and the benefits of mental health and wellbeing in relation to their performance.”


Mariano earns call-up to Matao, final squad list named

[June 4, 2019 - Harmon, Guam] For every championship, trophy, and medal that fans see and celebrate with their team, the underlying sacrifices, work-family commitment juggling, and the pressure to meet physical and mental demands of being a top athlete are not always visible.

For Matao veteran Ian Mariano, the work doesn’t stop with selection to the Guam’s final national football team roster, but instead intensifies each day closer to kickoff.

“In my opinion, there are two main factors for team selection – the first is sacrifice,” Mariano said. “Are you willing to sacrifice time with family and friends to train, regardless of the time of day? Are you willing to sacrifice holidays to fly to foreign countries to compete? Are you willing to sacrifice your child’s school performance or program to show up to training? The second factor may seem like a cliché, but for me, it’s hard work. Yes, it’s one thing to show up for sessions, but to actually put your head down and grind out the hours you’re there for is another animal.”


Matao debut new national logo in World Cup qualifiers

[May 31, 2019 - Harmon, Guam] When the Matao, Guam men’s national football team, steps onto the pitch in Thimphu, Bhutan for the first leg match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 1 on June 6, the team will debut the newly created national team badge on their match kits.

The new badge, which took almost a year to develop, features cultural elements for identity, including a latte stone, the shape of the Guam seal, Chief Gadao cave painting depiction to represent the Matao, and tropical hibiscus flowers in a rising depiction to represent the Masakåda, Guam women’s national football team. The wording, “Prutehi yan Difende” is adopted from the Inifresi, which Guam’s national team players recite ahead of every match and training session.

“As a National Team player, this badge serves as a reminder that we are representing much more than just ourselves,” said Mark Chargualaf, a midfielder called up to the Matao for June’s qualification matches.


Halehale overcomes challenges, accepts call up to Matao

[May 14, 2019 - Harmon, Guam] Taking on new challenges and overcoming them keeps 16-year-old Kyle Halehale motivated to achieve his dream: to play football at the highest level both internationally and professionally.

“I love challenges,” Halehale said. “In football, I love them because they help me develop as a player both on and off the field.”

In 2015, during Guam’s first-ever FIFA World Cup qualifier home matches, Halehale marched onto the competition pitch at the Guam Football Association National Training Center as a flag bearer and ball boy. Experiencing the magnitude of the matches from pitch level in his role then as a ball boy inspired him to push forward with his aspiration to someday earn a spot on the Guam men’s national team roster.

The challenge he set for himself – to earn inclusion into the Matao set up – started with an E-mail he sent to Guam National Head Coach Karl Dodd when the Australian professional coach and former professional player arrived in Guam last year.


Guam drawn against Bhutan in FIFA World Cup qualifiers

[April 18, 2019 - Harmon, Guam] Fixtures for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Joint Preliminary Qualification Round 1 were revealed following an official draw event held in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday afternoon Guam time.

Guam was the final team revealed in the draw and will face Bhutan for a spot in Round 2 of the joint qualification. The first round will be played in a home-and-away format with both matches in June. The Matao, Guam men’s national team, will first travel to Bhutan to kick off its qualification bid in a match set for June 6 and will return to Guam for the second match of the playoff set for June 11 at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

The official draw event is available for viewing on AFC's Official Youtube Channel,


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