The Republic of the Marshall Islands is the last nation on Earth not to have a football team, can you believe it?
But we're on a mission to change that. In 2020 the Marshall Islands Soccer Federation was established with the goal of bringing football to people on the islands.
Who and where are the Marshall Islands?
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is an independent country, comprising 5 islands and 29 atolls (coral reef islands). Around 50,000 of the inhabitants live on the capital island, Majuro.
We're situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia. It takes over 3 hours to fly from Guam, 5 hours from Hawaii and 7 hours from Australia.
In addition to a locally based committee, the federation is being helped by several UK-based volunteers to take the project to the next level.
Lloyd Owers, in his position as Technical Director, is helping to establish a school curriculum and training coaches to help deliver technical sessions for children and young people on the island. We are also planning to introduce a first-ever national league by the end of 2023, and ultimately create an international team ready to play their first fixture against another nation.
What's our goal?
We plan to have our first-ever competitive league kicking-off by the end of 2023, and both men's and women's international teams taking part in fixtures by 2024! Additionally, we are training coaches on the islands to deliver structured technical coaching to children in schools.
We are raising money to get much-needed equipment to enable coaches to deliver their sessions. This ranges from small items such as balls and cones to much bigger items such as goals, infrastructure and playing jerseys.
- Youth sessions to get children playing the sport we all love. (May 2023 - target: $1500)
- Coach Education workshops (initially online delivered by our TD (April 2023 onwards - target: $1000)
- Founding our Mens National League (starting August 2023 - target: $4000)
- Arranging our Technical Director visit in August 2023 to help drive these programs in person and provide more coach and PE Teacher education - target: $1500)
- Shipping costs to ship equipment and kit donations worldwide to MI (asap - target: $2000)
The fundraising will enable Lloyd to travel to the Marshall Islands to train local coaches, oversee football development, and ensure the school curriculum project is delivered successfully.
The long-term ambition is for the Marshall Islands to become a member nation of both the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and ultimately, FIFA. Before we are accepted to either of these confederations and receive any kind of funding, we need to demonstrate that competitive football is alive and kicking on the islands. We will need to cover travel, infrastructure, and expenses ourselves to help grow the game. We have a team of volunteers based both on the islands and in the UK, helping to promote and grow the game for the benefit of the Marshallese population.
Football (or soccer as we call it) has been growing in popularity for several years, and young people are showing that it's finally sustainable to start competitive and international teams. We launched our Soccer Federation in 2020, led by local enthusiasts, and now nothing is stopping us. We are even in the process of building our first-ever national stadium!
Truthfully, if we don't do this now - it may never happen. Due to the unique nature of our low-lying islands, if global temperatures continue to rise by 1.5 degrees, then by 2030 up to 40% of our land mass may be permanently flooded, making much of our land uninhabitable. Whilst we're doing our best to fight off the effects of climate change, such as land reclamation and flood defences - we want to use our football team to raise awareness of our plight and urge global leaders to take more urgent steps to halt the impending catastrophe we face.
Thank you for your support
We're a long way from achieving this currently, but by sharing our project and contributing to our fundraising we'll ensure football is alive and kicking on the islands before too long.
About our stadium
We are planning on hosting our soccer sessions and matches at the newly constructed Marshall Islands Track and Field facility in Majuro. This facility is government owned and was constructed thanks to donations made by neighbouring nations.