DEVELOPMENT IN FOOTBALL’S FINAL FRONTIERS
In 2009, my flatmate Matt and I moved to Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia in a (misguided) quest to coach a national football team.
When we arrived we found that football had more or less become dormant in Pohnpei but that there had been peaks when the sport was very much active, not just in Pohnpei but across the Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei, Yap, Chuuk and Kosrae) which make up a nation.
The story of football in Pohnpei was the story of football in much of the region. Dedicated volunteers had developed the sport to a certain point and then left. Without any funding from the sport’s governing bodies and without leadership it had fizzled out.
After 18 months, when we came to leave Pohnpei for the final time, we left behind a flourishing adult league and schools football being run by trained and passionate local people. The sport’s potential was clear to see, but the obstacles to FIFA funding remained as insurmountable as ever.
Ever since returning to the UK in 2010 I have wanted to find a way to help places like Pohnpei continue to develop football and also to find a way that other coaches could have the life-changing experience I had.
Uncharted Football was born by a group of likeminded people who want to make lasting and sustainable change and to break the trend of boom and bust that characterises the history of football in Pohnpei and in the other places that FIFA chose to forget.