- Marshall Islands currently has no international football team
- Located 5270 km from Australia in the Micronesia region of Oceania.
- With a population of 42,000 inhabitants, there is room to develop footballers
As things stand, the Marshall Islands in the Micronesia region of Oceania are the last remaining sovereign nation in the world without an international soccer team.
And if three determined Englishmen have their way, that could change sooner rather than later.
Located 5,270 kilometers from Australia, the Republic has five islands and a population of just over 42,000 people.
Nuclear extinction and flooding caused by climate change are constant concerns for locals, but natural disasters aside, Justin Walley, Matt Webb and aspiring coach Lloyd Owers remain determined to make football the number one sport. one of the country.
Basketball has that mantle now and, hypothetically, recruiting and developing 11 quality footballers for an international qualifying match tomorrow could be a daunting task.
Some would say impossible.
As things stand, the Marshall Islands (pictured) are the last remaining sovereign nation in the world without an international football team.
With a population of just over 42,000, there is scope for a future national team (pictured, a current group of enthusiastic locals)
In 2001, the class gap between the established footballing nations and the minnows became evident when the Socceroos beat American Samoa 31-0 in a World Cup qualifier – Archie Thompson (pictured) scoring 13 goals for Australia.
There is also much work to be done when it comes to world football in the Marshall Islands: the sovereign nation currently has no football clubs or competitions.
As if that were not enough, there are no fields, no goals and only a handful of balls.
Establishing a Football Federation in 2020 was a positive step for a nation that was previously annexed by Germany, occupied by Japan during World War I and then by the United States after World War II.
Bikini Atoll in the islands was also the site where the United States conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests between 1945 and 1958.
To this day, the huge concrete dome on Runit Island, which contains radioactive waste, remains an understandable reason for locals. To make matters worse, a crack has developed.
Climate change is also a real threat. According to research conducted by the Marshall Islands government together with the World Bank in 2021, a 1m rise in sea has the potential to flood 40 percent of structures and level entire islands.
A Netflix sports documentary, perhaps similar to the 2023 film Next goal wins, which showed the fortunes of American Samoa, who lost 31-0 to the Socceroos in 2001 in a World Cup qualifier, could ensure that football becomes a permanent focus in the Marshall Islands.
At the time, that one-sided result launched the career of Archie Thompson, who scored 13 goals for Australia in Coffs Harbour, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.
Only 22 years old at the time, Thompson traveled abroad with an enviable goalscoring reputation, enjoying spells in Belgium and Holland.
“That (a documentary) could be a game-changer for us,” Walley said. Fairfax.
‘The last country in the world without football would be an amazing story. ‘For me, “This is a story that needs to be told.”