Determined to improve on its fifth place finish last season, the Loyola-Meralco Sparks on Wednesday night unveiled national players Phil and James Younghusband as the latest addition to their lineup for the coming United Football League season.
The acquisition of the Younghusbands, who have a combined 20 international goals, is part of the massive roster buildup by the Sparks, who also snapped up Fil-British winger Matthew Hartmann.
Matthew, who used to be affiliated with English club Portsmouth and has played for the senior team in 2006, joins brothers Darren and Mark in the Sparks roster this season, which begins with the UFL Cup on Oct. 8.
The new Loyola Meralco players were unveiled at a press conference graced by business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, the Meralco CEO, Wednesday night.
Football Alliance president Randy Roxas, whose group organizes the UFL, announced that UFL Games will be televised live over TV5's AKTV Channel 13, airing matches twice a week.
Roxas is also one of the key officials of the Sparks, who will have two coaches this season in Vince Santos and Korean Kim Seung Hee, a former coach of Manchester United's Park Ji Sung.
``This is the first time in local football history that games will be carried live twice a week,'' said Roxas. ``This is a big platform for football to truly get off and be the most popular sport in the country.''
The Younghusbands, academy graduates of top English football club Chelsea, were signed to a three-year deal, although financial details of the contract were not disclosed.
James, who plays midfielder for the Azkals, expressed gratitude to Pangilinan for "investing a lot in the sport."
``We are looking forward to a new season,'' James, who has scored five goals for the country.
Mark and Matthew Hartmann are already in the shortlist in the country's Under-23 squad for the Southeast Asian Games in November.
Mark was impressive last season, leading Nomads in the early part of their campaign in the second division, before moving to Loyola, where he scored seven goals in three matches.