With at least 25 teams vying for the title, the stage is set for the United Football League Cup draw on Friday at the E’s Bar at the Edsa Shangri-la.
The league is still awaiting confirmation from six more teams.
Already though, expectations are high that this could be the most exciting Cup tournament yet for the league with the entry of high-profile players and a television deal with TV5 which is also expected to be signed Friday.
The UFL Cup kicks off October 8.
Defending champion Global FC and league titlist Air Force, which battled to a memorable final last January, will be among the favorites anew, along with first division squads Kaya FC, Loyola Meralco Sparks and Philippine Army.
Green Archers United FC, Philippine Navy and newly-promoted Nomads are also entered in the Cup together second division sides Dolphins United, Lions, Union Internacionale Manila and Stallions FC, which reached the quarterfinals last season.
National team standouts like Phil and James Younghusband and Angel Guirado are expected to make their debuts in the Cup.
The Younghusbands have linked up with Loyola Meralco, while Guirado is part of the formidable attack line at Global FC.
Kaya has also snapped up national players Nate Burkey and Jason Sabio to beef up its squad that already includes Azkals skipper Aly Borromeo and veteran internationalists Anton del Rosario and Yannick Tuason.
Adding excitement to this year’s Cup is the participation of 13 guest sides from as far as Cebu and Leyte in the South and Baguio in the North.
Cebu Queen City and Leyte’s Laos FC are among the guest teams vying in the Cup, along with Baguio FC.
The other new teams that have confirmed their participation are ABC Stars, Agila FC, Victory Liner-DIliman FC, Forza FC, Garuda FC PH, Internacionale FC, Manhur FC, Schwarz FC and Team Socceroo and Pachanga FC.
Although they have already confirmed their participation, the league is still awaiting Manila All-Japan, Pasargad, Sunken Garden and Manila Sudanese Club to formalize their registration for the Cup.
Bacolod-based side Ceres FC and Grigio di Solaroli FC have expressed their interest to join the league, but have yet to confirm their participation.