23 December 2015

Antonio Ugarte returns, is joined by new Filipino players

Kaya Futbol Club is delighted to announce the return of former Kaya player Antonio Ugarte and the addition of five new Filipino players—Shirmar Felongco, Julian Matthews, Sean Kane, Vito Tanton, and Charlie Beaton.
Antonio Ugarte joined Kaya in August 2012, and after donning the club’s colors for two UFL Cups and one league season, he left the club in December 2013 with our sincerest gratitude and respect. After two successful years in Thailand, during which he played for Nara United and Pattani, respectively, the midfielder returns to Kaya FC. “It was an incredible experience. I feel like I’ve matured a lot since I moved there … I think it made me an all-around better player,” narrated Ugarte. He has always had the qualities of a Kaya player, and we are delighted to have him back on the team. “It’s amazing being back. Kaya has always felt like family to me, so I’m so comfortable with this group. It’s made the transition really easy, and after only a month, I know I made the right decision coming back,” he admitted.
Shirmar Felongco, born in Calinog, Iloilo, is not new to the Philippine football scene, having played for UST and two United Football League (UFL) teams, Pachanga and Stallion, prior to joining Kaya. In addition, he was recently called up to play for the Philippines’s U23 side this year when he participated in the 2016 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Thailand and in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Singapore, where he scored his first international goal against Myanmar. Eager to prove his skills, the Ilonggo player is thrilled to be part of the Kaya family. “Nag-sign ako dito kasi gusto ko pa ma-enjoy ang football life ko, at saka gusto ko pa na marami pa akong matutunan sa paglalaro. Masaya ako na naging part ako ng team kasi isa rin sila sa malakas na team sa UFL. … Maglalaro ako bilang isang utility player sa team. Para kahit anong position ang ibigay ng coach, kaya kong patunayan na kaya kong maglaro,” said Felongco.
Julian Matthews, born in Manila, moved to Australia in 2007. The youngster has played for different teams such as Real Valladolid, Gold Coast Reps, and Queensland. He won the league with his most recent team, Palm Beach SC, in Australia, and he is now set to make his debut with Kaya. “Kaya is a great team. I felt comfortable when I was training. It feels great to be part of the Kaya family. Everyone is really friendly and nice. That’s why I decided to sign for Kaya—because I felt part of the family and I’d fit in with the guys,” shared Matthews.
Sean Kane was born in Pasay, Philippines, and moved to the Netherlands when he was six years old. At just seven years old, he played for a small club in Veldhoven, Netherlands (RKVVO). Two years later, he moved to Sweden and started playing for Lerums IS, where he received multiple awards such as Player of the Year and Coaches’ Award. At 16, he rose through the youth ranks to become part of the first team, which paved the way for his development and steadfast commitment. “I got the opportunity to move up to train and play together with some experienced players that gave me so much knowledge of the game and formed me into the player I am today,” said Kane. He later moved to the States to study and play for Menlo College and is now a Kaya player. “I had a great feeling about Kaya from the moment I had my first tryout. I felt welcomed from the first moment, and despite me not being in the team yet, it felt like I had been there for so long already …”
Vito Tanton, born in Freeport, Illinois, brings to the club his football experience from Wenatchee Valley College (WVC) in the States and Unió Atlètica d’Horta (UA Horta) in Barcelona, which shaped him to become a committed player. “I think I can add some maturity, creativity, composure, and physicality to Kaya’s midfield and also just add to the depth of quality of the squad,” said Tanton. He also had a brief spell at Loyola Meralco Sparks but was unfortunately sidelined due to an injury. He is now back in the game as a Kaya player and will play alongside his brother Miguel Tanton. “Kaya has a style of play created by the players they have and have had that made it a very easy decision to join. There is a commitment to humility and hard work at the club, which was also very important to me in not just a sporting aspect. It feels great to be here,” he explained.
Charlie Beaton was born in Cavite, Philippines, and moved to London when he was two years old. While growing up in England, he played for amateur clubs and even got the chance to play for Watford for two years despite not making it into the first team. He eventually moved back to the Philippines to play for Loyola Meralco Sparks and represented the Philippines at the U23 level in the 2016 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Thailand. “I have admired Kaya as a club since I first got here. I think the club is run really well with great coaches and a bunch of talented players. I’m happy to add to that. They have been very welcoming,” said Beaton. “I look forward to playing with the players and working alongside Chris to bring the best out of the squad and myself.”
We hope everyone will extend a warm welcome to the new members of the Kaya family, who will stand in good stead for the challenges ahead. There may be new faces, challenges, and experiences, but we will uphold the same values and qualities that we are known for as we move forward in this journey together. We are pleased to be bolstering our squad with our new signings, and we look forward to seeing them in action in the UFL, 2016 AFC Cup, and beyond. Welcome to Kaya!


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