After months of prep work, the Masakåda will make their return to international soccer competition, competing in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup tournament with 23 players for the Group D qualification round in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.
The women’s national team head coach, Ross Awa, announced the final traveling roster for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ Qualifiers, which start Oct. 18.
Including Captain Ariya Cruz and Vice Captain Colleen Naden, the final 23-player roster features 14 Guam-based athletes armed with loads of talent at the international, collegiate and regional levels.
“I am fortunate to have worked with all teams in our Women’s National Program in recent years and this provided me with a solid foundation of which players to select for the final roster,” Awa said. “In addition to players who’ve played at the senior level previously, I have brought in younger players who have experience competing at the youth level for Guam. We have a strong selection and I truly believe the potential for this team is incredibly high.
Sharing his confidence in the team’s potential, Awa said the goal is to win and advance to the final round. Commending his team's diligence to training, he said the style of play will be offensive-minded.
Guam was drawn into Group D of the tournament and will kick off its campaign on Oct. 18 against United Arab Emirates. The team next plays against Myanmar on Oct. 21, before finishing out the qualification round against Lebanon on Oct. 24. All of Guam’s matches will kick off at 5 p.m. Bishkek time (9 p.m. Guam time) on their respective dates at the Dolon Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.
“I am looking forward to our team’s overall performance in each match,” Awa said.
Citing the caliber of competition at the world-class tournament, Awa said he expects a challenge with teams looking to get points for advancement.
“The Masakåda are ready to compete and showcase an exciting style of football,” he said.
Awa will be assisted by coaches Chyna Ramirez and Keleko Fejeran. Joining the traveling staff are manager Thomas Castro, physiotherapist Kelsey Kuehn, athletic trainer Margaret Ha and media officer Jill Espiritu. Guam Football Association Executive Committee member Duane Pahl also will be traveling as the head of delegation.
Guam last competed in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup tournament in June 2003. Of the players called up to the team, five were not yet born the last time Guam competed in an AFC women’s tournament.