Artificial Turf On Saipan A First For Japanese Firm

31 October 2016

Japanese company Inc. will be working on its first international project when it installs the artificial turf on the soon to be built NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

“We’ve made artificial soccer turfs on over 40 locations in Japan and this will be our first one outside Japan,” said Inc. chief executive Nobuyuki Yamagata in an interview with Saipan Tribune last Thursday.

Nobuyuki along with Northern Mariana Islands Football Association president Jerry Tan, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, NMIFA general secretary Ross Zapanta, NMIFA vice president Vickie Izuka, NMSA president Michael White, Pacific Games Council president Vidhya Lakhan, first lady Diann Torres, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), and Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter led the groundbreaking ceremony for the facility last Wednesday.

“We decided to partner with NMIFA in building this artificial turf because we want to help soccer grow further more on the island by providing a nice pitch for the players. We’re very good friends with Jerry Tan and coach Seki (Kiyoshi) Sekiguchi and we want to help them in their visions for CNMI soccer, Yamagata said through interpreter Taiki Ishizu. “

The Inc. said once the 48,000-square meter lot has been cleared and construction work is finished, they can start putting synthetic fibers that look like natural grass and the process will only take a month to complete. Once done, the artificial pitch can be used after just a few days.

Yamagata declined to divulge the cost of the project, but said their company will provide a discounted price to NMIFA to show their support to CNMI soccer. Other companies—on- and off-island—are also expected to pitch in to build the first-ever artificial turf in the Commonwealth.

“We would like to thank Mr. Yamagata and his company for their commitment to us,” Tan said during his closing remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony last week.

Meanwhile, Yamagata hopes that NMIFA and his company’s partnership will not end once they have built the artificial turf.

“Maybe when the facility is done, we can help NMIFA hosts some teams as we bring some players here to train or play,” said Yamagata, whose company operates several futsal courts around Japan, too. Inc, also helps hook players up with professional teams in Asia and Europe and provides soccer apparels to Japanese teams.

“We’re looking forward to more partnerships with NMIFA as we both seek the development of soccer in the CNMI,” the Inc. CEO added.


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