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MANILA, Philippines – Filipina-Spanish newcomer Alexia Blanco Llacuno said she is “thrilled” to suit up for the Philippine women’s football team after receiving a call-up from the squad.
Alexia Jr. showcased her wares in an identification camp helmed by Filipinas head coach Mark Torcaso and his coaching staff in Orange County, California, USA, from November 27 to December 6.
“I am delighted, I am thrilled, being called up by a national team makes my family and me proud. It’s now part of our legacy,” said the 23-year-old, who attended her first camp with the Philippines.
“It’s the reward for all the hard work, both as a collective – because without my teammates, I wouldn’t have received the call – and individually, it’s very fulfilling.”
Alexia Jr. currently plays for CA Osasuna Femenino, a professional football team in the Primera Federacion, the second-tier women’s league competition in Spain.
The Valladolid-born forward has already scored two goals this 2023-2024 season for Osasuna and is expected to provide the same attacking threat for the Filipinas in their international matches.
“I’m very happy, it feels like a dream. I am accomplishing something I dreamed about since I was a kid and it meant a lot when I was told the news,” she said.
Alexia Jr. explained that she chose to represent the Philippines due to how connected she is to the country’s culture and how her parents – especially her Philippines-born mother – inspired and taught her many things.
“My family and I got very excited, though I am aware of how big of an honor this is, and I am eager,” she said.
“It is a dream come true and all the ones to come. This is a long journey and my story is just beginning.”
It is indeed only the start of Alexia Jr.’s Filipinas journey as she attempts to crack the official lineup once the international friendlies and tournaments start to flow once again next year.
Filipinas moving up the rankings
The Filipinas will enter 2024 as the newest world No. 38 after climbing up six spots in the latest FIFA Women’s World Rankings.
It is an impressive milestone for the Filipinas who back in February entered the 2023 Pinatar Cup as the 53rd-ranked country and amazingly worked their way up to finally breaking into the top 40.
The Filipinas participated in multiple tournaments this year, but none bigger than the Women’s World Cup where they displayed impressive grit and tenacity in their maiden appearance.