Pleased with the overall success of the inaugural Kåmp Tinituhon, an induction camp for elite U16 and U19 football athletes held last month, the Guam Football Association is already making plans to expand next year’s program.

“Kåmp Tinituhon was a huge success with all objectives being met and players investing 100% into the program,” said Karl Dodd, Guam National Team Head Coach.

The program offered a structured learning environment that encompasses national team concepts and interaction with the community, said Dodd. It provided a professional training environment and included sessions about Guam's culture, language and history to instill pride in the players who will be representing the island.

“Something really pleasing was during the final day of the camp at the Liberation Day parade where some kids in the Harvest House program identified their buddies from earlier in the week when Guam Football Association hosted them, and ran over to give them hugs,” he said.

A key component of the program, especially for the younger players who will be ambassadors for the island, is that they learn to be role models and represent Guam with pride.

“They have a greater understanding … They understand the importance of making the community a better place,” Dodd added.

During the induction camp, supported in large part by Mobil Oil Guam, players engaged in training sessions and scrimmages, while also attending classroom sessions to learn about Guam’s culture and the CHamoru language with Theresa E.G. Taitano and proper nutrition for young athletes with Lenora Makela from Eat Right Guam. Players also learned about Guam’s history with a visit to the T. Stell Newman Museum.

Other activities included setting up a soccer carnival for kids from Harvest House with support from Triple J Five Star Wholesale and Hertz, team-bonding activities at PanIQ45’s escape room and laser tag, yoga instruction from Turning Leaf Yoga, a session on leadership with the Guam Police Department, and participation in the 75th Annual Liberation Day parade. During the camp, the U19 players competed against their Northern Mariana Islands counterparts in the annual Marianas Cup tournament at GFA.

Planned expansions for next year include bringing in additional professional consultants, such as a college adviser to assist players looking to compete at the intercollegiate level and obtain athletic scholarships, as well as a licensed sports psychologist to assist with mental aspects and stressors the players may encounter, among others, Dodd said.

“The girls already had a special bond, but this camp really brought them together as players and as friends with each of the program activities and sessions,” said Maggie Phillips, head coach of the Guam U19 Women’s National Team. “At least on the U19 Women’s side, the main objective for next year will be higher participation from both on-island and off-island players. We really want to help unify both on- and off-island players, and this camp is the perfect opportunity for that.”

Players in the U16 and U19 Men’s Divisions will be competing in qualification rounds of the AFC U16 and U19 Championship tournaments in September and November this year, respectively. The U16 and U19 Women’s Division players will compete in AFC tournament qualification rounds in 2020.

Information was provided in a press release.