Guam – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, Senator Ben Pangelinan and Guam Football Association executives ceremonially broke ground for the official start of construction of Guam’s 5th FIFA Goal Program project midday Saturday in front of hundreds of youth soccer players, coaches, referees and soccer fans at the GFA National Training Center.
Guam’s 5th FIFA Goal Program project will include the construction of a second full-size turf pitch adjacent to the GFA headquarters, as well as a full-size natural grass field on the upper level of the multi-million dollar Harmon training center.
“I’m excited for the project,” said 10-year-old Shaun Paul Martinez, one of eight youth soccer players who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. “It’s good that we’ll have more fields because we can have more games and more fun,” added the St. Francis School student who plays for the Wolverines.
Martinez’s club teammate Shyann Roberto, who also participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, shared his excitement for the new pitches.
“I’m excited because we’ll have bigger fields to play on soon,” the Talofofo Elementary School student added.
[Guam Football Association executives, visiting dignitaries and youth soccer players participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking event to signal the start of construction for Guam’s 5th FIFA Goal Program project, which will include a second full-size turf pitch and an additional full-size natural grass field at the GFA National Training Center in Harmon. GFA Executives and visiting dignitaries participating in the event include GFA Executive
Committee members Kun Ho Rhee and Rhoda Bamba, Senator Ben Pangelinan, GFA President Richard Lai (holding microphone), Congresswoman
Madeleine Z. Bordallo, and GFA Executive Committee members George Lai and Gian Tenorio.]
GFA President Richard Lai opened the ceremony with a speech identifying key project details, as well as other GFA projects in the pipeline. The current Goal Project will cost roughly $750,000 to complete. Of the $750,000 price tag, FIFA has allotted $500,000 towards the project’s completion. Through tax-credit legislation spearheaded primarily by Pangelinan, the rest of the funds needed were made available. The final contract was signed and presented Oct. 16 after months of negotiations by GFA executives and FIFA representatives.
The new turf pitch will feature a newer type of turf material purchased from Belgian company Desso. The material will be installed through a joint effort by Korando, a local company, and HG Sports from Australia, all approved by FIFA.
In addition to providing players a new turf pitch for games, GFA also hopes to further reduce utility costs and conserve water through the project. GFA has already seen substantial water utility cost savings following the installation of the facility’s first two artificial turf pitches that had replaced existing natural grass fields, Lai said in his speech.
Following the completion of the 5th FIFA Goal Project, the GFA also has planned to embark on a separate sustainability project that includes the installation of solar panels for energy at the facility. FIFA also is supporting the sustainability project and will closely monitor GFA’s progress and energy cost savings to use as an example for other member associations.
Following subsequent speeches by Bordallo and Pangelinan, eight youth soccer players – including Martinez and Roberto – accompanied the visiting dignitaries and GFA executives with shovels for the ceremonial groundbreaking.
Only five countries in the world have been awarded and completed five Goal Program projects, according to the FIFA Web site. The estimated time of completion of Guam’s 5th FIFA Goal Program project will be before the end of December if all goes as planned, according to GFA general secretary Tino San Gil.
The completion of Guam’s first FIFA Goal Program project was officially commemorated with a plaque presentation by Junji Ogura, a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee on May 7, 2005. FIFA vice-president Reynald Temarii presented the plaque for the completion of the second FIFA Goal Program project in Guam on Sept. 12, 2009. The first two projects include the construction of the GFA Headquarters and Training Center, regulation flood lighting for the pitches, futsal courts and a parking lot. Guam’s third and fourth FIFA Goal Program projects included the installation of GFA’s first full-size turf pitch, as well as a mini turf pitch, officially inaugurated by FIFA President Joseph Blatter in December of 2011.