PH football girls proceed undefeated to Southeast Asia championship
After trouncing Myanmar, the Philippines will play Thailand, which beat Vietnam 2-0 on Saturday, in the championship on Sunday, June 15

VICTORY. Coaches of the Philippine U14 National Football Team celebrate their victory over Myanmar. Photo by Ronald Whaley

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – The underdog Philippine U14 National Football Team shot past a speedy, skilled Myanmar team on Saturday, June 14, and will play undefeated for the Asian Football Confederation Southeast Asian championship on Sunday.

If they win on Sunday, the girls – all 14 years and younger – will be the first Philippine football team in history to be ranked number one in Southeast Asia.

“I put a lot of pressure on our players and they responded,” said Let Dimzon, head coach of the Philippine team. “They gave it their all.”

In Saturday’s semifinals match, a fast and technically skilled Myanmar squad played goal for goal with the Philippines. At 9 minutes into the game, Myanmar midfielder Hnin Mya Thazin scored the first goal of the weeklong tournament against the Philippines.

Philippine forward Itsuko Bacatan responded 5 minutes later with a goal that tied the game at 1-1. Powerhouse midfielder Joyce Semacio sealed the deal for the Philippines with a goal at 66 minutes into the game.

“That was the deciding factor,” said Coach Dimzon. “The goal by Joyce broke their spirit.”

The Philippines will play Thailand, which beat Vietnam 2-0 on Saturday, in the championship on Sunday.

The Philippine national team battled a lack of resources in preparation for this year’s tournament. Their opponents had top professional gear provided by the government while the Philippine team had to mix and match the best gear they could put together in time for the tournament.

Though their opponents had better shoes, the Philippine girls had better skills. Going into Sunday’s championship game, the Philippines was the top ranked team in the tournament in terms of overall points based on wins. 

Before the 2-1 victory over Myanmar in the semifinals, the Philippine team walked over Singapore (6-0) and Cambodia (5-0). On Wednesday, the Philippines battled it out for a stunning 1-0 upset defeat over last year’s champion, Vietnam.

The 18 girls on the Philippine national team were chosen based on nationwide tryouts. 

They are Stacey Ann Arthur (Metro Manila), Jennifer Baroin (Makati City), Princess Beth Caparida (San Carlos City), Jan Reese Jumawan (Cebu City), Tenelyn Otom (San Carlos City), Lindsay Whaley (Subic Bay), Itsuko Bacatan (Cebu City), Patricia Erika Francisco (Davao City), Chloe Anne Hails (Metro Manila), Francesca Anne Marie Suerte (Iloilo City), Annika Velez (Manila), Glynnes Dela Cruz (Metro Manila), Joyce Semacio (Davao City), Arantxa Mari Trebol (Cebu), Yasmin May Elauria (Olongapo City), Alexandrea Gumilao (Cebu), Tejanee Marie Isulat (San Carlos City) Mikayla Grace Simons (Hong Kong).

The coaching staff includes Assistant Coach Joyce Landagan, Goalkeeper Coach Melissa Chris Marquez, and physiotherapist Katherine Anne Soriano.

 The tournament is being held at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. –

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