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Find your ‘why’ and make it your passion

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“FOOTCAST with Norman Del Rosario” provided the younger soccer generation a glimpse of what the NMI men's and women's national teams have achieved — and what the younger players themselves can accomplish through hard work.

Towards the end of episode 5, former NMI national soccer players Emily Maxberry, Neeka Atalig, Carrie Schuler, Gabi Race, Mikky Vargas, Chevy Alipio and Megan Silberberger also talked about what it means to be an athlete in the NMI.

“While you have the chance, make it count,” Neeka Atalig said. “A career-ending injury or responsibilities will catch up on you and one day you won't be on the pitch anymore. So it's up to you to leave that mark and mold the future generation to be better.”

Members of the NMI Women's National Team celebrate after a goal in an off-island tournament. Contributed file photo

She added, “Never give up. Continue to encourage the youth to come out and play.”

Mikky Vargas, who now works with the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association, said: “Opportunity is fleeting. It's rare to find an opportunity like this and you can't find this anywhere else. One day it's not going to be there so if you want it, grab it. We can only do so much.”

Hard work pays off.

"Any coach or player who is helping you, take it for what it is and help it make you a better player,” Emily Maxberry said. “I am who I am because of all the parts people played in my life. Do not let anything defeat you. Anything is possible and it shows here in this podcast."

Gabi Race’s advice: “Don't forget why you play. Always remember why you are running in all those practices. Ninety minutes of playing soccer is not easy.”

Carrie Schuler said, “Find your ‘why’ and make it your passion. Challenge yourself to learn something new whether it’s a new move or understanding more the position you play.”

Chevy Alipio still has room to grow, but she said she has acquired more than enough experience to guide younger players. “Just keep working hard,” she said. She was unable to play for two years due to an anterior cruciate ligament surgery, but that did not stop her from getting back on the grass when given the opportunity. “Your mindset has to be strong, you just have to keep doing what you want to do. Do not let anything make you fall back; it's all about your heart.”

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