Ceres FC out to prove football supremacy in UFL top division
Jaelle Nevin Reyes Bacolod City-based Ceres FC is hungry to prove themselves in their first tour of duty as a division one club in the UFL
MANILA, Philippines - Coming out of their humble home turf situated further south of the bustling metropolis, Ceres-La Salle FC is once again assembling their men as the start of the United Football League (UFL) season approaches.
The two-time national club champions from Bacolod City is keen on putting their mark on the history of Philippine football as they start their new campaign as one of the new additions to the top division of the country’s premier football league.
Just formally established as a club two years ago in 2012, the young club of Ceres took everyone by surprise by winning their first national club championship during the 2012-2013 season. With a title tucked under their belt, the team gained confidence to take on the big guns of the local football industry.
A year after their triumph, the club once again defied odds and trampled top flight clubs to defend their title in the 2013-2014 season of the national club football tilt.
Eventually, the club that hailed from the shadows of the quiet provincial football scene came into the ranks by joining the second division of the UFL last season. Not to the surprise of many, the Bacolod City-based club struck the competition with full force eventually leading to their promotion to the big league.
At present time, the club is hungry to prove themselves as a division one club in the UFL.
Ceres FC will be facing a tough match-up in Group A of the inaugural FA League Cup, the first tournament in the new UFL season that will kick-off on September 20. Group A, composed mainly of top Division One clubs is dubbed as the competition’s group of death.
The club will be battling it out with fellow top tier clubs Loyola Meralco Sparks FC, Stallion FC, Army FC, Manila Jeepney FC, Green Archers United FC and Pachanga Diliman FC.
As a response to the challenge that is lurking around the corner for the club, former Ceres FC coach and now club director Ali Go said that they have been preparing for the new season as early as July.
“We have been in training now since july 27. About 2 months already. We train two times a day from Monday to Friday, [and during] Saturday mornings. I think we made a very good progress in our training. We do it step by step. The team now is more cohesive already. Every player knows our tactical system and they believe in the system we use. I think the team is prepared already for UFL.”
A lot of changes and transfers in the club were made in the past few months, more recently the appointment of the new head coach. ChaSoungyooung, a Korean who previously worked as the club’s director for the past two years has been placed on the helm while former players Ian Treyes and Jason Cordova will help as his two new assistant coaches.
“We will still use the same system we had before but added some other tactical strategies,” Go stressed about the latest change in their club’s management.
Management was not the only variable that was changed in the Ceres FC’s proven equation. Several high caliber national team prospects were signed in the past months to ramp-up their game.
Azkals standouts Marvin and Marwin Angeles, Patrick Reichelt, Carlie de Murga, Jason Sabio, Jeffrey Christaeans, Nate Burkey, Ed Sacapaño and Juani Guirado are just few of the players that are currently in the squad’s roster.
In addition, two more Azkals who are rather new in the Philippine club football scene has also joined the club. Manny Ott signed for Ceres last July coming out of his German second tier club FC Ingolstadt 04 and just recently, Paul Mulders who was called to represent the country in the recently concluded Peace Cup.
“Manny Ott is one if the best players. He is very experienced and he can dictate the tempo of the game. He contacted me when he was in Germany so we talked about the possibility of him playing with Ceres. He knows also most of the players and he played already for the Azkals. [I think the] reputation of the club and vision is the key why players want to play for Ceres.”
Go revealed, “Paul [Mulders] signed already. He will be in the line-up. Paul really wanted to play for Ceres. I think he liked what he saw with the club and he knows most of the players.”
Also, Adrian Gallardo, a Spanish striker, was signed from Spanish second division team CD San Fernando to fortify their offensive form for the upcoming endeavors of Ceres.
“These players are all very good, skillful and smart. They all know how to play in a system. You can have all the good players but without a good system, your team is just as good as any team. Players must all believe in your system. This is where you separate a good team from a champion team,” the club’s director stressed about the circulating rumors that their club is just signing every available national team player on the transfer market.
“A lot of players now want to join Ceres. We have to choose the right players for every position. Attitude is a key for selection. We always try to be the best team. We join tournaments to be champions [and] not just to represent. Our goal is always to win,” he added.
When asked about if there will be more surprise additions to their relatively start-studded roster as the first transfer window closes on Sunday, September 14, club director Go promptly replied, “We’ll see. Maybe one more.”
Ceres La-Salle FC will be jumpstarting their conquest in the upcoming UFL season with a game against Pachanga Diliman FC on opening day of the first FA League Cup at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. -