THE Philippine U15 football team is confident entering the JSSL Professional Academy 7's tournament happening in Singapore from Sept. 2-4, 2022.
Mike Atayde, president of Davao Aguilas Football Club, said the Philippine team finished champion in the AIA 7's tournament held on Aug. 19, 2022 at the Mckinley Stadium, Taguig City, and first runner up in the YFL Cup on July 30, 2022 at the Alabang Country Club.
The JSSL tournament will see 450 teams competing from U6 (under six years old) to U16 (under 16).
"Our U15 (under 15) team have been playing together since they were U11. They recently finished champion in the recently concluded AIA 7's tournament in Mckinley Stadium and first runner up in the recently concluded YFL.PH Cup. They are a talented and cohesive team with enough confidence to meet any team with the grit of a winner," he said.
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"Aside from having friendly matches, the team's participation in the recently concluded YFL 7 aside league and AIA 7's league has made it ideal for the team to compete in the JSSL 7's aside tournament," Atayde added.
And as early as 2019, the Philippine team bound for Singapore has been competing in tough local tournaments, preparing them for bigger games against tougher opponents.
"In 2019, the same team competed in the NOFA cup in Bacolod, sweeping the elimination round with five straight wins and losing only one match in the quarterfinals through a penalty shoot out. You can say the NOFA cup, if not the toughest, is up there in the level of competition for an 11 aside youth tournament," Atayde said.
He identified the key players of the team as Andres Gabriel Dumlao, U16 national team defender; John Karl Molina, winner striker who was voted the team MVP and highest scorer for the team during the last AIA 7s; and Josh Stephen Borromeo, goalkeeper who conceded only one goal during the last concluded AIA 7s.
The other members of the team are Andres Eduardo Barredo, Sebastian Gabriel Guinto, Jaeseung Kim, Noah Ong Llamado, Gabriel Luis Montelibano, Lucas Martin Montelibano, Santiago Juanito Remulla, Zedrick Roa, Nicolo Andres Feliciano and John Mark Visitacion.
Atayde said that after the JSSL tournament in Singapore, the Philippine U15 team has two more tournaments to participate in: Bakuna Cup on Sept. 17, 2022 and the Youth Football League set to kick off on Sept. 24, 2022 at Alabang Country Club.