Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Azkals to scout for US recruits

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 0 comments

source: By Joaquin Henson / The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine football team captain Aly Borromeo and defender Anton del Rosario will conduct tryouts to reinforce the Azkals pool of players at the Gellert Park in Daly City, near San Francisco, on April 9-10 with an eye to recruit talents in the 15-24 age bracket.
So far, about 25 players have expressed interest to join the tryouts that Borromeo and Del Rosario will supervise with US college football coaches. A plan to hold tryouts in Los Angeles and New York City was scuttled to concentrate on the main camp.

“The players are coming from all over,” said Del Rosario. “There were at least eight from the East Coast looking forward to the tryouts in New York City but we’ve asked them to fly to San Francisco instead so we can assemble the players all together. It’s more practical to hold the tryouts in the US than ask the players to fly all the way to Manila. We’ve got players coming in from Canada, too.”

Borromeo said a camp in Europe is also being planned but nothing is finalized.

“There are over two million Filipinos in the US,” said Borromeo’s father Pocholo who is involved with the National Capital Region Football Association. “We know that soccer is getting bigger in the US, particularly in the youth level up to about 12 years old. We’re sure to tap good talents from the US just as we’ve tapped good talent from Europe.”

Borromeo, an Azkals mainstay with over 30 caps, said bringing in players from overseas to suit up for the national team is a reality in the global game. “It happens all the time,” said Borromeo. “In our case, we’ve learned to adjust to each other. Players come just a few days before a match and leave right after. That’s how it is with a lot of national teams whose stars play for clubs in other countries. We’ve become familiar with each other. Coach (Michael) Weiss doesn’t mind. As long as we’re winning, he’s happy.”

Borromeo said he’s on the lookout for players who can see action with the under-23 squad at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia this November. Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, 21, reliever Christopher Camcam, 16, defender David Basa, 21, striker Yannick Tuason, 21, Fil-German Patrick Hinrichsen, 20, and Fil-Dutch Jason de Jong, 21, are among the players now in the under-23 pool.

Meanwhile, Etheridge and Fil-Spanish recruit Angel Guirado left Manila yesterday. Etheridge flew back to England to play out the balance of the premier league season with Fulham and will return here late May. Guirado departed for Spain where he has seven games left to play for Deportivo Ronda of Malaga in Division III. Guirado will be back in June to suit up for the World Cup qualifiers.

Last Sunday, the Azkals were treated to dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen in Greenbelt, Makati, by owner Jack Rodriguez. The players who came included Borromeo, Del Rosario, Guirado, Etheridge, Simon Greatwich, Ray Jonsson, Tuason and Camcam. Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta could not attend as he was in Ho Chi Minh City attending the AFC Aid 27 workshop. Araneta returned home last night.

Etheridge said when he arrives in May, he’ll take two weeks off on holiday in Boracay and Cebu. He’ll play in the World Cup qualifiers then go back to England on July 4 to start training camp with Fulham.

“I love to play for the Philippines,” he said. “You can see the progress of the national team, game after game. I’ve gotten used to flying in and flying out. It’s a matter of focusing for 90 minutes on what you have to do during the game. I’m committed to play for the Philippines.”
As for Guirado, he said the experience in the recent AFC Challenge Cup was a thrill. He booted in two of the Azkals’ three goals in the win over Bangladesh to book a ticket to the Challenge Cup finals.

“Palestine was our toughest opponent,” said Guirado. “They really played physical. They kicked me everywhere. I still have bruises from the match on the shin and legs. But that’s part of the game. I’m learning to speak English and Tagalog, little by little. It will help if I stay longer in the Philippines. I’ll be back in June then in July, my girlfriend (Rocio) will join me in Manila. I don’t think I’ll get weak if she’shere. She’ll make me stronger.”

Borromeo said playing in the Challenge Cup in Myanmar was an experience. “We felt the pressure throughout the tournament,” he said. “Not just in the match against Bangladesh where we had to win. But we got a boost from the Filipino fans in the stands. They were only about 30 but they were really loud. Out on the field, we heard them cheering for us. It was almost like we had the homecourt advantage. We love the fans. They give us inspiration to play harder.”


0 Responses so far:

Leave a Reply