Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Amazing 2014 Girls U14 Football National Team

If you are a Filipino football fan, you better remember these names:

Players:
Stacey Anne Arthur
Itsuko Maree Bacatan 
Jennifer Baroin
Glynnes Dela Cruz
Yasmin May Elauria
Patricia Erika Francisco
Alexandria Gumilao
Chloe Anne Hails 
Tejanee Marie Isulat
Jan Reese Jumawan
Tenelyn Otom
Joyce Semacio 
Mikayla Grace Simons
Francesca Anne Marie Suerte
Arantxa Mari Trebol
Lindsay Whaley 
Annika Bo Velez

Head Coach: Marnelli Salvador Dimzon
Assistants: Joyce Landangan, Melissa Chris Marquez,
Physiotheraphist: Katherine and Soriano

This is the 2014 Girls U14 Football National Team that is making waves in the 2014 AFC U-14 Girls' Regional Championship for the ASEAN Region. The young Malditas will face the similarly undefeated Thailand side tonight for the championship trophy.  While reaching finals has in a way branded this team as overachievers, the team is capable of beating a strong Thai team that has not conceded a goal in the tournament.

This Philippine football team is not your typical team that usually become jubilant reaching the semifinals in an ASEAN level tournament.  The 2014 girls U-14 team dominates opponents and has only conceded one goal so far in the tournament. They destroyed Singapore 6-0.  Then, they upset the dethroned defending champions and hosts Vietnam 1-0.  They capped their group matches with a decisive 5-0 beating of Cambodia.  In the semifinals, the team rallied to a 2-1 victory against Myanmar. 

The leading goal scorers of the team are Cebu's Itsuko Bacatan with 4 followed by the 3 goals of Davao's Joyce Semacio.  The team is composed of players all over the country.  They have just played together for less than 2 months but they somehow buck the odds and slowly showing that the national grassroots program of the Philippine Football Federation is starting to bear fruit. Who knows in 5 years time, these girls will dominate the Southeast Asian football scene.  It might be too optimistic but a victory in the U14 level will be a great shot in the arm for Philippine Women's football.


The 2014 Girls U-14 National Team (photo from Rappler.com)



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