By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
“The reason why we join tournaments is to become champions,” said Ceres-La Salle FC Director Ali Bernard Go.
The two-time Philippine Football Federation-Smart Club Champion defending titlist and United Football League Division 2 champion Ceres-La Salle FC officially signed up six more players yesterday during the contract signing and press conference held at 21 Bar in Bacolod City.
The Bacolod-based club signed up Azkals veteran turned Ceres FC team captain Fil-Spanish Juani Guirado, Fil-Ams forward Nate Burkey and defender Jason Sabio, Fil-Belgian winger Jeffrey Christaeans, Fil-German midfielder Manny Ott, and Spanish veteran forward Adrián Gallardo.
The newly-signed players will join the star-studded team composed of local and international standouts led by co-skipper and veteran goalkeeper Michael Casas, second choice keeper Bago City-native Eduard Sacapaño, Talisay City’s Camelo Tacusalme and Jalsor Soriano, Negrenses Arnie Pasinabo Jr., Lemuel Unabia, J Baguioro, and Jayson Panhay, Fil-Italian twins Marvin and Marwin Angeles, Fil-German Patrick Reichelt, Fil-Spanish Carlie de Murga, Fil-Belgian Angelo Marasigan, and foreign reinforcements Orman Okunaiya, Kevin Capolei, Jin ho Kim, Kim Sang min, Kyum-Son Cho, and Yong Chan Son.
The build-up is part of the team’s goal to bring Philippine football to the next level and be the best in Southeast Asia.
Despite the language barrier, Ceres FC Korean head coach Cha Soungyooung said that there’s no major adjustment in the team. “I’ve been working with the team for a couple of years and they are organized.”
According to Go, the team worked hard to familiarize themselves with the system. “Yes, we have players coming from various football approaches like of Europe, United States, South Korea and the Philippines, but we have one system in the Ceres FC and that is what binds us,” he said.
Facing the challenges of having several players playing in the national team, Go said that they have been working closely with the Azkals’ management on how to deal with some issues concerning Ceres’ players. “While the club is looking at some tough tournaments this month onward, they are also looking at arranging details on rendering service to the country,” the former national team striker stressed, adding, “All these events are important to us at Ceres, and we are not taking things lightly or selecting which to prioritize.”
This weekend, the Ceres FC will start its campaign for the UFL’s FA League Cup – going up against a tough group composed of Loyola’s Meralco Sparks, Stallion GC, Manila Jeepney FC, Pachanga Diliman FC, Green Archers United, and Army FC.
Helping Coach Cha in directing the team are assistants Ian Treyes and Jason Cordova./WDJ
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