Matao Asian Cup campaign officially ends with withdrawal
[December 29, 2016 - Harmon, Guam] The Matao officially completed its campaign in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers after recently receiving a letter from AFC confirming Guam’s decision to pull out of the continental tournament.
Primarily due to the foreseeable strain on the organization’s financial capabilities, Guam Football Association submitted its intention to pull out of the next round of the tournament’s qualification stage, set to begin in 2017 through to 2018, following a decision by executives and board members in a recent meeting.
“It is with a heavy heart that after deliberation among executives and board members that we have to pull out of the continent’s prestigious tournament at this stage,” said Richard K. Lai, GFA President.
Matao aim for win in final EAFF tourney fixture Saturday
[November 11, 2016 - Hong Kong] The Matao, Guam men’s national football team, won’t accept anything less than a full three points from regional rival Chinese Taipei in the sides’ final fixture of the EAFF E-1 Football Championship Round 2 Hong Kong set for Saturday at Mong Kok Stadium.
As it stands, Guam has the edge over Chinese Taipei in the tournament’s standings after Day 2 matches based on goal differential, with Guam’s narrow 3-2 loss to Hong Kong on opening day of the men’s competition and a heartbreaking 2-0 loss to DPR Korea Wednesday evening, the smallest scoring margin between the two sides to date.
Matao roster finalized for EAFF tournament in Hong Kong
[October 31, 2016 - Harmon, Guam] Guam Football Association officially released the list of players selected to the final Matao roster set to compete in the EAFF E-1 Football Championship Semifinal Round in Hong Kong beginning Sunday.
The Matao, Guam men’s national football team, will be competing against DPR Korea, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei. The winning team from the semifinal round will earn a berth in the final round of the biennial tournament to compete against Japan, Korea Republic, and China, P.R. in Japan next year.
“The competition we’ll be facing in Hong Kong will be fierce, organized and prepared to win games,” said Darren Sawatzky, Matao Head Coach, via E-mail from Washington. “We must approach the competition game-by-game and opponent-by-opponent.
Guam's Lopez signs to play professionally in India
[October 28, 2016 - Harmon, Guam] Notable performances by Marcus Lopez during Guam’s campaign in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Joint Preliminary Qualification Round 2 helped propel the Matao forward to a professional playing contract in India.
Particularly after Guam’s second match against India in Bangalore, a prominent Indian agency contacted Lopez for a two-month trial beginning in July with Minerva Academy FC. At the end of two-month trial, the club officially offered Lopez a full contract for the club’s 2017 season, which begins in January.
“Earning a contract with the club was a great feeling – hard work really does pay off,” Lopez said.
Sawatzky named interim head coach of the Matao
[September 1, 2016 - Harmon, Guam] Coach Darren Sawatzky will officially take the helm of the Matao, Guam men’s national team, ahead of the upcoming EAFF E-1 Football Championship Round 2 scheduled to begin in November.
Sawatzky, currently General Manager and Head Coach of the Tacoma Stars, a professional team from Washington state in the Major Arena Sports League (MASL), takes over the Matao Head Coach position vacated by Gary White in June. Sawatzky’s resume also includes experience as Head Coach of the Seattle Sounders U-23 team, as well as six years as Director of Youth Development for the Sounders, among other notable coaching positions.
“I look forward to welcoming Darren to Guam and tracking his progress with the Matao as the team competes in the upcoming EAFF tournament,” said Richard K. Lai, Guam Football Association President.