The ICTSI-backed Manila Jeepney FC released during the January 03 deadline by the UFL committee its Season 5 roster. The team, also supported by CORD Marine, is set to compete in the highly competitive Division 2 of the league bannered by teams such as national club champions, Ceres La Salle FC from Bacolod, Union Internacional, recently relegated and former UFL champions Philippine Air Force FC and Forza FC. “As you will see, we have kept our roster pretty much intact with a few solid signings” says club boss Javy Mantecon. “Reason for this is to ensure continuity with our training and build familiarity since the second-tier competition will be very tough with the addition of Ceres from Bacolod”, adds Mr Mantecon. The squad’s local content remains strong with defenders Mark Villon, Divino Regis and Miles Conmigo signing for the season. They will be ably supported by recent signing, Yaya Toure, formerly with Pasargad FC, beefing up the defensive line. “Yaya is a significant addition to our rotation. We have kept a keen eye on him and believe in his skills and talent” says head coach Kale Alvarez. Mark “Power” Valeroso retains his position in the middle as well as being the team captain for the term. “We also added ex-Agila FC defender Alvin Perez into the line-up” adds Coach Alvarez.
The squad’s attacking side remains formidable with prolific American scorer, Sean Iliff. Iliff is credited for five goals during the squad’s debut in the UFL Cup last quarter. “The team likes Sean’s work ethic and retaining him will be key in our drive to be in the top 3 of Division 2 UFL. Sean is skillful with the ball and shows trust with his team mates when our attacks take place. He remains a vital cog in our offense” according to Mr Mantecon. Masood Shadideh, the other prolific goal scorer from Iran and formerly with Pasargad FC, will form part of the attacking front. “We are hopeful Masood will find his stride during the league. He had a tough start during the Cup largely due to a long lay-off from competitive play while he was in Iran. The league is Masood’s playground and we are certain to see him score more goals than ever before” adds Coach Alvarez. Midfielder Yannick Tuason along with Ateneo-stalwart Mikko Mabanag likewise signed for the season. Tuason was sidelined for most of the Cup due to injuries. Also retained were Guy Herve and Mamadou Sangare. Other new signings include Koffi Kouassi from Ivory Coast and Khosro Safarian from Iran.
The squad has been busy during the break with practices coupled with outreach football clinics. “Given the tough competition, we felt it best to build on our strong Cup finish and continue with practices and conditioning during the break” added Mr Mantecon. Members of the squad provided substantial time training street kids within the barangays of Intramuros for their outreach project dubbed Project LIPAD. Held every Sunday, children from three barangays within the walled city would meet up at the Maestranza Field to learn football for free. “This is our way of giving back to our home, Manila. Bringing the kids of the city together to learn the sport is a good way of securing our future talent as well” according to Club Director, Antonio Longa. “We have seen a high participation rate of over 90 kids per session and we hope to secure more in the future and build the sport in the city. This is our commitment to the City Government of Manila and we could not be thankful enough to them, the Intramuros Administration and especially to our corporate partner, the ICTSI Foundation for their untiring support” adds Mr. Longa.
The team released Ayi Nii, Chris Arceo and Jason Arroyo from the roster. Arceo returned to the States while Arroyo is injured.
Below is the list of active players in the Club’s roster for the 2014/15 UFL wars:
Vasseba (Yaya) Toure – new signing
Mark Alvin Valeroso
Juan Carlos Miguel Golez
Abdoulaye Coulibaly – new signing
Khosro Safarian – new signing
John Kerby Relova
Alvin Perez – new signing
Mark Alvin “Lags” Lagrimas
Koffi Kouassi – new signing
Thomas Liao – new signing
Joel Pontillas – new signing
About Manila Jeepney FC
Manila Jeepney FC (MJFC) is a newly established football club based in the City of Manila, the Philippines. The club is wholly owned by Manila Jeepney FC Inc. and the men’s senior team is coached by former national player Kale Alvarez. MJFC envisages a club composed mostly of homegrown local football talent obtainable all over the country. Its goals are to compete actively in top flight football competitions in the Philippines and support the development of football in the city of Manila through academies, training programs and other relevant activities.