DALY CITY, California — They came to the Bay Area for a chance to play for the flag — the Philippine flag.
Some flew in from as far as the East Coast and Canada.
For one weekend, Gellert Park in Daly City has been their field of dreams.
“Filipino ako eh,” said 19-year-old Martin Rodil. “So [I’m] playing for a sport I love, but not only that, playing for my country. It’s a big reward sa buhay ko.”
“I have a lot of heart,” said 18-year-old football hopeful Dante Anderson. “On the wings, I could work hard for them.”
Martin and Dante are among the 37 Filipino-American athletes who tried out for the Philippine national football team.
In a country where soccer was never as popular as basketball, the sport is now enjoying massive celebrity recognition in the Philippines, thanks to a team who call themselves The Azkals– a nickname that means mongrel in local speak.
Most of the star players are Filipino-Europeans.
And while they don’t get a lot of money to represent the Philippines, they are treated like heroes at home for doing their country proud.
“We’re working our way right now, we’re doing progress. Our goal is to make it to the World Cup qualifier. So hopefully, we can do that,” said Borromeo.
Borromeo and defender Anton del Rosario are looking for talents to reinforce the team.
They say that bringing in players from overseas to help the national team is a reality in the global game.
“They’re not just here to try out for any college team. This is the national team. They gotta show more passion, more determination,” said Borromeo.
The team captain said he already spotted a few talents who stood out, but he wouldn’t give names.
But one thing for sure, those who will make the cut will join the Azkals in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Indonesia this November. Source