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Azkals forward Mark Hartmann ends Ceres sojourn; joins PJ City

After a brief stay with Filipino champions Ceres-Negros FC, Philippine Azkals forward Mark Hartmann has completed another move, reportedly joining Malaysia Super League club Petaling Jaya City FC.

The development regarding his departure from Ceres has been confirmed yesterday by Hartmann himself via a social media post.

Although official confirmation has yet to be released, it is believed that his destination club is Petaling Jaya City FC, which in effect, completes its foreign quota in time for Malaysia Super League 2020 season.

Once the move is complete, 28-year old Hartmann is already no stranger to Malaysian club football as he already had previous stints with Sarawak FA and Penang FA respectively.

With the Filipino forward’s move away from Ceres, his short tenure as part of the busmen will be remembered for his contributions in the AFC Champions League 2020 qualification campaign where he featured as a substitute in the historic win over Thai club Port FC follow by the defeat against J1 League side FC Tokyo.

Before joining Ceres, Mark Hartmann played for Thai club Nakhon Ratchasima.

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Photo credit: The Azkals

7s football league

7’s Football League gears up for a much bigger Season 5

The AIA Philam 7’s Football League is set the green light for its biggest and most ambitious Season 5 which kicks off simultaneously in different parts of the nation on February 9.

During the presser held in the afternoon of February 6 in Makati, a total of 80 teams are vying for top honors in different competitions with 24 teams for the men’s, 10 for women’s, and 48 youth squads.

What started as a small league with only eight teams to reaching its currently much larger pool of competitors, it seems that the league is in the right direction in achieving one of its biggest motivations as to why it has come to existence in the first place.

“I saw a huge gap in the football market in the Philippines and it has been my personal advocacy to bridge this and make the sport inclusive so more people will appreciate it. Hopefully, what I’m doing sets up a good foundation in the country,” shared 7’s Football League founder and former Azkals Anton del Rosario.

That gap is slowly being addressed through the efforts of the 7’s Football League as it now has presence in different locations across the nation giving local clubs in the locality far from Metro Manila a chance to compete in an organized 7-a-side tournament.

Along with the league’s partnership with AIA Philam Life that began last year, 7’s Football League was able to further consolidate its previous expansion plans such as last season that saw it’s biggest competition pool yet with 66 teams, the women’s division, and even introducing new special tournaments such as the Philam Vitality Kampeon 7’s Cup, the All-Star tourney, and AIA global ambassador, football legend, David Beckham’s appearance and participation at the 7’s Football Youth Clinic.

“Football should be an all-inclusive sport and we’re happy that the league we’ve been supporting since last year has opened its arms wider to welcome more people to play the sport,” said Kelvin Ang, AIA Philam Life Chief Executive Officer.

Probably the most promising tournament that 7’s Football League is offering is the Youth Divisions which provides an opportunity for future talents to be developed in the competitive aspect of football which could help in identifying talents that would benefit Philippine football in the future.

7’S Football League Season 5 kicks off simultaneously in McKinley Stadium, Muntinlupa, Clark, Bacolod, and Davao on February 9, while Iloilo commence its season on February 15.

Photo credit: 7’s Football League

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Jarvey Gayoso foregoes UAAP football with Ateneo to go pro

As of February 5, former Ateneo de Manila standout footballer and U22 Philippine National Team player Javier “Jarvey” Gayoso opted not to use his remaining eligibility in the UAAP to play professional football in the domestic scene.

This development came from the player himself, via his social media channel, thanking the university he served as a forward in its varsity team in stellar fashion for 8 years in the UAAP football tournaments beginning in the high school levels.

View this post on Instagram

After much thought and deliberation, and with the guidance of Ateneo de Manila University and the AMFT, I have decided not to return to the UAAP this year. Although this was a tough decision to make, ultimately I had to choose what I believe would be what’s best for me and my future. After my stint at this year’s South East Asian games, God blessed me with an opportunity to play professional football overseas. Thus, in preparation for this huge task, I have made the decision to join a local professional team. I will, however, continue to pursue my college degree at the Ateneo, as this has also been a lifelong goal. I have played my heart out for the Ateneo for 8 wonderful years. 8 years that have brought me trials, triumph, and memories I will keep with me forever. As a student, my biggest task was to balance my academics and my love for the sport and along with this, came setbacks that tested my ambition. Being an athlete, I was given the opportunity to compete in football and track and field which strengthened my athleticism and versatility. As a football player, I have suffered devastating losses which helped build my character. And taking on the responsibility of representing my country and my alma mater showed my heart and my passion for the beautiful game. So to my dear Ateneo, I’d like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to strive for an Ateneo education, while proudly representing the blue and white. Playing for the Ateneo has improved every aspect of my life and opened numerous doors for me and I could never thank you enough. Choosing the Ateneo was and will always be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. To the 12th men, thank you for your continuous support and love for the game and for cheering us on through every minute. Thank you for all your sacrifices – for coming to watch our games under the heat of the sun, taking the time off your busy schedules to watch us do what we’re most passionate about, and for crying, celebrating, and fighting with us. (1/2)

A post shared by Jarvey Gayoso (@jarveygayoso) on

But what is the more interesting part in the substantial post is his jump to the local professional ranks may serve to be just a stepping stone for an opportunity to play overseas.

“After my stint at this year’s South East Asian games, God blessed me with an opportunity to play professional football overseas. Thus, in preparation for this huge task, I have made the decision to join a local professional team.”

For the past years, when his actual rise to prominence in the local footballing circles began in full blast from his breakout season in the college level, the now 22-year old footballer immediately made a name by being the top scorer in the UAAP where his prolific outputs in front of goal were maintained almost his entire tenure in college football. Such a career span produced two championships, multiple top scoring awards and MVP honors.

As a national athlete, Gayoso has been part of the junior ranks of the national football team program with stints in the U19 and U22 levels with the recent 2019 Southeast Asian Games as one of the most high profile playing alongside Azkals mainstays Stephan Schröck, and Amani Aguinaldo, with promising peers based overseas such as Justin Baas, Anthony Pinthus and Yrick Gallantes in what could be considered as one of the best showings of the youth squad in years, despite coming short of qualifying to the semifinals due to goal difference.

The mentioned international tournament may have been a revelation for the college star’s massive potential in his capabilities as, although he has been mainly a striker and one of the main focal points in attack for his teams both in Ateneo and the Philippines, his role for his latest stint in the national squad has been very different by being utilized as a left-back with a license to operate up the wing.

As of this writing, it is yet to be officially confirmed which local team he is joining, but with the Philippines Football League already on the horizon in less than a month’s time, Jarvey Gayoso will finally be seen donning a kit and stepping onto the pitch as a professional.

Photo credit: Jarvey Gayoso FB fan page, Smile 8 Photography

PH youth club Malaya FC enjoys banner 2019

(Via Malaya FC)

Malaya FC can consider 2019 a fruitful year considering the Youth Football League (YFL) season 3’s conclusion, by winning the championship in four of seven age divisions in the country’s premier youth league.

In finals matches played over four weekends, Malaya FC emerged as champions in the under-11, under-15, under-17, and under-19 categories; and 2nd runners-up in the under-13 age group.

“Malaya really dominated the YFL this season,” said Joseph Gensaya, YFL technical head as he awarded the YFL championship for the fourth time to a Malaya FC squad last December 8 at the Circulo Verde pitch in Quezon City.

Malaya FC U17 were the latest to bag the YFL championship, after fashioning a 4–2 win against Mendiola FC. The Golden Glove award went to Malaya keeper Lance Jeter Bencio; Most Valuable Player award went to striker Carlos Maniscan.

The day before, Malaya FC U15 comprehensively beat Kaya FC Elite 5–0 to win their division convincingly.  Malaya keeper Gabriel Anthony Cadisal was given the Golden Glove award, while defender Mark Maghinay Palallos was named MVP.

In the U11 category, Malaya FC triumphed 3 – 1 against Kaya FC Yellow to bag the championship, capping an undefeated run throughout the four-month tournament. Malaya keeper Kyle Castillo was awarded Golden Glove honors; midfielder Kenneth Dela Cruz was named MVP. 

Leading the way for the younger teams by winning the first championship of the YFL season were Malaya FC U19 with a 4–2 mastery of Mendiola FC. The Golden Glove award went to keeper Kristian Harald Bumatay, while MVP award went to striker Kieth Absalon who suited up as defender in their last two matches.

En route to winning their YFL titles, the Malaya FC teams also picked up podium finishes at the Borneo Cup 2019 held in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: U17 were first runners-up, while U15 and U11 were 2nd runners-up in the AFC Tier 3 tournament.

William Gueridonn for U17, Yves Blanc for U15, Jovert Ayuban and Jake Morallo for U11, and Marvin Dava for U19 were the coaches of the winning Malaya teams, with Roland Sadia as goalkeeping coach.

“It’s been a banner year for Malaya FC, with the teams posting their best finish yet in both the YFL and Borneo Cup,” said Malaya FC secretary-general Mark Duane Angos. “The players in these teams have been training and playing together for at least 2 years – with some in U17 playing together for about 6 years now – and it shows in the results.”

However, Angos said there were also some eye-openers this year for Malaya FC.

“One is the need to level up our skills to be able to compete in higher-tiered tournaments in the region. While we have done well at the Borneo Cup, we’re aware that we need to raise our game in order to be competitive in ASEAN youth football,” he said. “That’s what we’re aiming for and focusing on this coming year.” 

Malaya Football is a non-profit organization dedicated to using the sport of football for community development. The club gives children from underserved communities the chance to learn and play football through free regular and continuous training, and participation in highly competitive leagues such as the YFL as well as local and international tournaments.

Malaya FC is a founding member of the YFL and a member of the Cavite Football Association (CAFA).

Photo Credit: Malaya FC and Youth Football League

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Azkals U22 get monumental 1-0 win against Malaysia

The Philippine Azkals U22, against the odds, produced a gritty 1-0 win in their third group stage match against Malaysia to keep their hopes of reaching the semifinals alive in the 30th Southeast Asian Games held in Rizal Stadium last November 29, 2019.

Right from the start, the Philippines tried to push forward as evidenced by a freekick awarded within the first minute of the match when Stephan Schröck was fouled.

The ensuing freekick led to a corner kick for the hosts, but the attempted buildup was broken down successfully by the Malaysian defense.

Moments followed with both teams trading possessions and threatening runs but neither were able to produce a gilt-edged chance.

In the 18th minute Azkals defender Mar Diano seemed to have suffered a knock but after undergoing initial treatment, was able to continue as the match saw sporadic action until Rontini’s 21st minute effort from range that was comfortably dealt with by Malaysia’s net-minder Muhammad Nadzli.

A freekick by Malaysia in the 23rd minute by Adam Nor Azlin flew well on-target but Philippines’ goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus was equal to it.

As the match went nearer the half-hour mark, team captain Schröck tried to intiate some half-chances but the opening goal was hard to come by with Harimau Malaya having some promising glimpses as well.

But come the 30th minute, just as the Philippines seem to have gotten the slight upper-hand, Malaysia’s Muhammad Abdul Razak was able to unleash an effort from an angle that flew just wide of the far post.

In the 38th minute, another promising spell went the Azkals’ way with Dylan de Bruycker’s shot from outside the box being blocked by a Malaysian defender for a corner kick but the ensuing play left the hosts empty handed.

Malaysia may have a good chance to score via a 40th minute counterattack but they weren’t able to take advantage as the undermanned defense of the Philippines was able to thwart the buildup.

The final minutes of the first half had both sets of fans at the edge of their seats as the match hung precariously in the balance with either of the two teams having the possibility poised to break the ice.

It could be something that the Azkals would rue in the play that followed in the first minute of injury time of the first half as a well-worked cross by Schröck was able to find towering forward Chima Uzoka but the headed attempt arched way over the bar.

A thrilling close to the first half unfolded with Malaysia handed a freekick in what served as the last kick of the first 45 minutes but the ball produced was far from promising as it flew out of bounds and both teams headed into the break with neither scoring a goal.

As the second half began, with Stephan Schröck unleashing an early shot that flew just wide.

In the 52nd minute, a corner kick saw a shooting chance when the ball bounced kindly in front of an Azkal outside the box but the attempt was blocked.

The hosts turned up the ante in the following minutes as they were able to get a few consecutive set-pieces with Malaysia forced to defend for the most part, but still the opening goal proved to be elusive.

As the hour mark arrived, the visitors came up with a threatening play as the ball glided into the danger zone but Pinthus was able to cushion the ball with the palm of his hands and under his control.

In the 66th minute, the Malaysians were able to get a shot on target as Muhammad Norhisham unleashing a low strike from distance but Pinthus once again was composed in dealing with the attempt.

But the breakthrough did arrive for the Azkals as a 73rd minute deceitful corner kick by Stephan Schröck, aided with the pressure applied by Amani Aguinaldo, found the back of the net.

The advantage seemed to have immediately turned Malaysia into life as two successive attempts within the 77th minute, though ending empty-handed, were worryingly enough for the Azkals backline.

Sure enough in the 80th minute the Malaysians pulled off probably one of their most promising shots but Muhammad Abdul Razak’s just flew marginally off target. But Malaysia still kept piling the pressure near the 90th minute mark by marauding the Azkals’ penalty box as the onus rested on their end to produce the crucial leveler.

But the equalizer proved to be elusive for the Harimau as the Philippines get a monumental win to keep its 2019 SEA Games campaign and hopes of surviving Group A alive and kicking.

The Philippine Azkals will next face Timor-Leste in their final group stage match on December 4 which will be hosted in Biñan Football Stadium. Kickoff is at 4:00PM. Malaysia meanwhile will clash against Cambodia at the same schedule which will be held in Rizal Stadium.

Photo credit: Smile Eight Photography

Azkals Generic Ball

SEAG2019: Azkals U22 suffer first loss against Myanmar

Despite an equalizer late in the first half and a sustained pressure in most of the second, it wasn’t meant to be as the Philippine Azkals U22 suffer a 2-1 loss from a go-ahead goal in the 79th minute against Myanmar U22 in the Southeast Asian Games 2019 Group A men’s football encounter held in Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila last November 27.

The match began with the Philippines applying pressure against the Asian Lions even forcing a corner within the first five minutes of action.

Ceres-Negros talisman and national team captain Stephan Schröck has been lively in attack, initiating plays and supplying passes up front.

But Myanmar also showed some early signs of what they are capable of with glimpses of threatening speed on the counter.

The first clear chance of the match arrived for the hosts in the ninth minute when Gallantes saw his header go way over the crossbar off a feed from Schröck.

In the 13th minute, Myanmar demonstrated an almost moment of brilliance with midfielder Myat Kaung Khant unleashing a curler from the right edge of the box that only flashed wide of the far post.

The first quarter of an hour arrived with both sides settling well into the match with promising plays traded back and forth.

However the breakthrough did arrive for the lions in the 17th minute with forward Aung Kaung Mann capitalizing on the cleverly executed one-two pass that evaded the hosts’ defense and beat the arms of Azkals keeper Anthony Pinthus.

Philippines tried for a quick response, but the Burmese squad were able to hold on firmly onto their defensive tasks.

What followed is a spell of promising breaks in favor of Myanmar whose players were able to craft half-chances on a few occasions that raised some worry on the Filipino back-line.

Near the half-hour mark, Dennis Chung was able to exploit the right flank, earning his side a free-kick but Myanmar were not threatened in the ensuing set-piece.

After another chance arrived for the visitors a few moments after the half-hour, tried to push and build on a chance, to no avail as Myanmar once again almost successfully constructed another chance to increase their lead.

A brief stoppage followed when goalscorer Myat Kaung Khant suffered a knock from a corner-kick play, but the Burmese player turned out to be able to continue as play resumed.

It was all Myanmar at this point, as the Asian Lions found another gilt-edged opportunity in the 40th minute with a teasing low cross from the left side of the box that only failed to connect with a striker.

At around the 43rd minute, just as defender Edison Suerti was introduced, a rare golden opportunity arrived for the Azkals as Myanmar committed an uncharacteristically errant pass that saw the ball roll in front of the on-rushing, Chima Uzoka, but the forward took to much time to control the ball as the visitors were able to regroup and break down the possible opportunity.

The Philippines immediately made amends equalizing in the first minute of injury time as defensive midfielder Justin Baas unleashed a pile-driver inside the box off a feed from Dennis Chung from a well-timed cross initiated by mercurial midfielder Yrick Gallantes as both teams headed into the break all-square with one goal apiece.

After that equalizer, the Philippines immediately tried to build on the momentum after the restart by piling the pressure from the get-go.

In the 49th minute a Chima Uzoka seemed to have committed a costly miss by blasting Schröck’s well placed cross towards him high in the sky. But to the relief of the Filipino fans, the play has been ruled for offside.

Despite Schröck’s inspirational leadership on the attacking end, Myanmar suddenly sparked things up on the other side in the 51st minute with an on-rushing counter-attacking play but Dennis Chung busted his lungs to track back and chase the man with the ball that led to a timely intervention to snuff out the attack.

The Filipinos immediately tried to regain the momentum and sustain it as they continued to pile the pressure relentlessly on their opponents as the Burmese resorted to defend in numbers and hopeful balls upfield.

And just after the hour mark, the hosts unwavering efforts almost got rewarded as Schröck shimmied his way into Myanmar’s danger zone at the left, unleashing another sumptuous cross that just evaded Uzoka, but kindly bounced towards Baas’ path whose low drive just missed the far post.

But Myanmar produced a scare in the 63rd minute with what seemed a decent counterattack that beat the Azkals’ backline only for the linesman to raise for offside.

A few minutes of kind spell in favor of the Azkals continue to follow as it has been all the hosts who have been able to build chances upon chances save for the go-ahead goal as Myanmar finally got a free-kick in the 71st minute, but Pinthus was able to smother the ball after initially spilling it.

Stephan Schrock has been pulling the strings in several of the plays for the Philippines but a momentary lapse gave Myanmar a glimmer of an attacking chance with Aung Kaung Mann breaking away from Amani Aguinaldo only to see his chance denied by Pinthus.

Myanmar saw another chance came begging with pacy substitute striker Win Naing Tun denied but it just served as a premonition as he found the back of the net in the subsequent play in the 79th minute when he received a well-worked lay-over from Myat Kaung Khant as the visitors regained their control of the driver’s seat.

The conversion somehow changed the complexion of the match as the Azkals lost the pressure they were able to bring to the opposition a few moments ago as Myanmar suddenly seem to be on the ascendancy late in the game.

In the 90th minute Anthony Pinthus made a crucial stop to avoid the Azkals from suffering a two-goal deficit by denying a clear one-on-one chance for Myanmar.

A late freekick for the Philippines taken by Schröck was saved by Asian Lions’ keeper Sann Sat Naing as time eventually expired with Myanmar getting their first win of the campaign at the Azkals’ expense with a 2-1 scoreline.

Philippines U22 will next face an important match against six-time SEA Games gold medal winners, Malaysia on November 29, 2019 at 8:00PM also at the Rizal Memorial Stadium while Myanmar face Timor-Leste in an earlier 4:00PM kickoff also in the same venue

Photo credit: Philippine Football Federation

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Precious point: Pilipinas WNFT shows promise in milestone draw vs nemesis

The Philippine Women’s National Football Team (Pilipinas WNFT) opened their 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games campaign with a goalless draw against Myanmar last November 26, in Biñan Football Stadium. Despite the stalemate, there was actually more to that match than just the result.

Here are some of the reasons why that one-point earned by the Philippines in the group stage proved to be critical, and a crucial outcome that could set them in a good position to reach the semifinals and contend for a medal.

Myanmar were a thorn, until now

At least for the past decade, probably in the entire history of their encounters at the senior level, Pilipinas WNFT has never defeated or even drawn with the Asian Lionesses, Myanmar.

As a matter of fact, the Burmese squad has proven superior with all previous matches since the 2010’s ending convincingly in their favor against the Filipinas with a 2-0 outcome way back during the 2011 AFF Championship serving as the closest margin of victory ever.

Also, the lionesses have been one of the major spoilers for the Philippine women’s past quests for a medal finish with the just recent 2019 AFF Championship proving just that as Myanmar beat the Philippines 3-0 in the battle for bronze.

Now in 2019 right in front of the Filipino home crowd, the Philippines finally earned their first point against the team that gave them probably one of their toughest and forgetful matches – a result that could serve as a possible turning point in the future encounters between these two sides.

Consistent, solid defense saved the day for the Philippines

What may be ‘the great equalizer’ for the Filipinas in this latest fixture is the much improved defensive discipline and resolve shown against their much daunted Burmese rivals.

Despite the slightly tentative midfield and attack in the first half, in terms of keeping possession and creating chances, the hosts’ defense held firm to frustrate Myanmar’s offensive waves as the visitors came up empty handed despite some promising midfield play in the first 45 minutes.

Come the second half, all the more that the Philippine backline rose to the occasion, with the entire squad showing more fluidity the defense not only held fast in delivering its main role but also became the starting point of several offensive moves as Coach Let Dimzon’s wards began to successfully probe what seemed to be initially an impenetrable Burmese wall.

Goalkeeper Inna Palacios not only pulled off some fine saves, but she also demonstrated great anticipation with some crucial interventions by running out of her line to get first a number of through balls that could have been the breakthrough for the opposition.

The backline composed of Mea Bernal, Hali Long, Dai Dolino and subsitute Chelo Hodges, has always been effectively on the alert, eventually negating Myanmar’s highly rated front-line duo of Yee Yee Oo and Win Theingi Tun while Claire Lim may have provided the best individual performance with her audacious long range efforts, two of which either forced a crucial save from the opposing keeper or hit the crossbar, contributing on the offensive end on top of her staple enforcer role.

Such was the level of effectivity that has been delivered by the Philippines’ defense that Myanmar’s best chance came not from their strikers, but from their creative attacking midfielder Khan Malar Tun, proving how the supposed superior opposition was pushed to its limits in order to carve out opportunities but eventually ended up empty-handed.

Halftime adjustments almost delivered a win

Whatever the initial concerns that the Philippines had in the first 45 minutes, most of those have been addressed in the second half and this is where Head Coach Marnelli ‘Let’ Dimzon’s tactical nous came into play.

As the tenth minute of the second half expired, the hosts started to be more settled in their midfield play, anchored by captain Patrice Impelido, showing more composure and industry in working the ball from the middle of the park.

The flanks became more utilized as well, and to much greater effect as Camille Rodriguez, Alisha Del Campo and Sara Castañeda were given more room to create either by supplying the services needed towards Sarina Bolden, Quinley Quezada, and Shela Cadag (later on) at front or crafting opportunities themselves.

But the turning point in the match may have been the introduction of Eva Madarang near the hour mark, who provided the much needed fresh legs and versatility by operating as a free radical in the entire right flank mainly as a winger, support striker (in a more pronounced three-pronged attack) or midfielder, with a few unfamiliar cameos as wing-back – helping out on the defensive end as demanded by the situation.

Though opportunities did come, the arrival of that much awaited breakthrough wasn’t meant to be, despite the Philippines knocking at Myanmar’s door on several occasions as the match neared its expiry en-route to a monumental draw.

A working unit waiting to succeed

With what has been demonstrated, Pilipinas WNFT now is in a very good position to survive Group A of the 2019 SEA Games. But there’s still another barrier to hurdle with a tricky match against Malaysia set to be the decider for the Filipinas’ progression to the semis.

Nevertheless, if the opener against one of the region’s most dangerous sides Myamar could serve as a very minute yet reliable reference in this campaign, the Philippine Women’s National Football Team maybe primed to finally get its first medal in the regional biennial meet that has eluded them for 34 years since that bronze medal finish in 1985.

And if they reach the podium, with finishing first a possibility, then what a way to celebrate our women’s competitive homecoming after a decade of football odyssey.

Photo credit: Philippine Women’s National Football Team

PilipinasWNFT-SEAG2019

Pilipinas Women’s Football Team kicks off SEAG2019 campaign

Coming off what could be considered as one of its most extensive preparations for a tournament after not playing a competitive match at home in a decade, The Philippine Women’s National Football Team, now begins its Southeast Asian Games 2019 campaign against one of the region’s powerhouses Myanmar tonight, November 26, in Biñan Football Stadium.

The Philippine team has been drawn in Group A along with Myanmar and Malaysia, and with the current pool of competitors, the hosts – under the guidance of head coach Let Dimzon – have a high chance of getting to the semifinals/medal rounds.

Although there has been no official posting yet from the social media channels of the squad, based on some reliable posts, the Philippines are working on a 20-player roster that may be the final list that will compete in the biennial tournament.

[UPDATE: The Philippine Women’s Football Team just officially released their squad]

We reveal your 🇵🇭 team for the 30th #SEAGames2019 women's football event that will kickoff later today!#LabanFilipinas…

Posted by Philippine Women's National Football Team on Monday, November 25, 2019

Goalkeepers

  • Inna Palacios (Green Archers United)
  • Kimberly Pariña (Far Eastern University)

Defenders

  • Claire Lim (University of California – Santa Cruz)
  • Hali Long (Green Archers United)
  • Alesa Dolino (Outkast FC)
  • Patrice Impelido (Stallion-Hiraya FC)
  • Mea Bernal (Outkast FC)
  • Chelo Marie Hodges (Green Archers United)
  • Tara Shelton (De LaSalle University)
  • Cathrine Graversen (B.93 Pigefodbod [Denmark])

Midfielders

  • Camille Rodriguez (Stallion-Hiraya FC)
  • Sara Castañeda (De La Salle University)
  • Charisa Lemoran (University of Santo Tomas)
  • Hazel Lustan (University of Santo Tomas)
  • Eloiza Fagsao (University of the Philippines)

Forwards

  • Quinley Quezada (University of California – Riverside)
  • Alisha Del Campo (De La Salle University)
  • Shela Mae Cadag (University of Santo Tomas)
  • Sarina Bolden (Sandvikens IF [Sweden])
  • Eva Madarang (Doncaster Rovers Belles)

After the opener against Myanmar on November 26, the Philippine Women’s Team will next face Malaysia on November 29, also in Biñan Football Stadium.

Photo credit: Philippine Women’s National Football Team Facebook page

Shanden-Vergara-Snow-College

Filipino footballer Shanden Vergara looks back on first US season with Snow College

Filipino footballer Shanden Vergara has just concluded his first season with Snow College Badgers after ending the campaign in the conference finals of the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA). Despite not reaching the nationals, the San Carlos City native shared his overall experience across the Pacific and how it molded him as a player.

Speaking to the 5th Minute of Added Time via online chat, the former DLSU Green Archer imparted the overall initial challenges he faced when he transitioned to his then new environment.

“I find my first season here at Snow a challenging and an enjoyable one. Back in a few months, I had to readjust again being far away from my family, playing football in a different country, new environment, new school, and a different climate. In my first week, it was difficult for me to adjust.”

From an ordinary fan perspective, the UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year’s decision to move overseas came as a surprise after a stellar showing in just his debut season where he helped the Archers reach the final. But Shanden continued to push the envelope by going further out of what could have been his new comfort zone to test his mettle in the United States after getting a scholarship with Snow College and eventually getting settled into his life as a student-athlete with the Badgers.

“As time went by, I started to adjust and because of my faith in God, I never felt that I was alone despite the difficulties,” said the now Filipino Badger.

Eventually, Shanden made a mark for his team through his efforts – on top of his already undeniable talent in the sport. Such was his contributions that he was even recognized by the NJCAA’s regional governing body as one of its standout players.

Although the Badgers came up short in their plans to survive out of Region 18 and compete in the nationals of the NJCAA after being defeated 1-3 by Salt Lake City Community College, Shanden has a lot to thank for in his first season with Snow College.

“Playing here at Snow has helped me a lot in becoming better as a player and especially as an individual. Being surrounded by people from different backgrounds has shaped me to the person I am today which I’ve learned so many things from them on how they treat football as part of their life and especially during training that they always push me to work even harder and help others who are struggling.

Shanden Vergara (2nd from right)

“Our season went up and down and yet we fought hard and played for each other until the very end but we fell short. Our main goal was to qualify for the nationals but we couldn’t make it happen. I’m very grateful to be here at Snow because of the challenges that I’ve encountered on how I overcame them and especially to my coach Nuno (Gourgel), who gave me the opportunity to play here and brought my own full potential,” Shanden further shared.

With the season already wrapped up, Snow College now set its sights on their next campaign in spring 2020 which will be a set of friendlies in preparation for the actual NJCAA campaign which begins in fall.

Finally, given that Shanden’s junior college tenure is all in preparation for university, the Filipino international is still mum on which will be his next destination when inquired on this aspect, given that it is still too early to tell considering the US academic calendar and sporting system.

“In this matter, I can’t say which school I am going to transfer because I am waiting which school gives the best offer for me. We’ll see what happens.”

Photo credit: Shanden Vergara Twitter account

pff-election-landscape

[OPINION] PFF Elections 2019: A plea

The Philippine Azkals have just concluded their final match for 2019 in Dubai, giving a short lull for in football proceedings before all attention by most Filipino football fans and stakeholders get channeled to the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which will be held in Manila.

And as the football events kick off in the SEA Games, with fans busy in showing their support to the U-22 men and women’s teams in their respective campaigns, a much more important event that would significantly influence the course of Philippine football in the next few years is about to happen: The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Congress where the elections for the new administration will happen.

In the coming November 29 elections, two parties will be vying for the presidential spot. One incumbent seeking a fourth term, while the other – a tenured official in the sport – is running for the highest office for the first time.

Both have plans, good ones (on paper, at least), but here’s the thing: As with any elections, only one candidate can win. And the fates of both will lie on the most crucial players come the main event – the FA representatives.

As of the moment, there are 36 associations (33 regional FA’s and 3 pro clubs) that make up the PFF. Each of these has a leader or president that will serve as the representative in the congress and has the power to vote come elections on who will be the next head of the federation.

So here are my statement and plea to the regional FA leaders who have the ability to choose the next head of Philippine football: VOTE WISELY! This will be the occasion that each of you wields an immense power – YOUR VOTE. Study the platforms of the two hopefuls carefully, including their respective track records. In your hands lie the immediate future of football.

Please, don’t take it for granted. It’s on you.