Being at the UFL league 2012 opening made me realize how badly the female football players of this country needed a league too. The excitement, the crowd, the sheer hype of it all, pushes the men to work harder to improve their game, and why shouldn’t we have that as well?
It’s about time since majority of the population of female football players’ careers end at the collegiate level. After this, playing football means either suiting up for the women’s national team or joining small club teams who mainly participate in seven-a-side tournaments. The former is a long shot for most players and the latter doesn’t satiate the hunger. A career in football is unthinkable unless it’s to coach or referee, or for the very lucky few, to be part of the Philippine Football Federation, Asian Football Confederation or FIFA. But a career is not even what most of female football players are looking for.
It’s the chance to be challenged and to be in that competitive atmosphere beyond our 4-5 years of collegiate action. Something that gives girls the hope that there is something beyond the UAAP or the WNCAA. After all, only 5 women’s teams participate in the UAAP while the WNCAA only has futsal as an event.
On a positive note, there are whispers and rumors of a UFL women’s league, as well as a FIFA-run league. Either way, the female population of the football community have gotten wind of this and are slowly getting their act together. I, for one, am excitedly awaiting my former teammates to suit up once more and return to action. It’s been way too long for some of these girls. And I assure you, a lot of them are raring to go.
I say it’s our turn to get out there on the pitch. And it’s our turn to inspire the little girls watching on the sidelines into getting into the sport we’ve loved for a long time now. Women’s football surely is a different pace from the men’s, but is the same game full of passion and heart. A game that we can now say will truly capture the hearts of all Filipinos.
Isabella ‘Belay’ Fernando is a defender for the Malditas, the Philippine national women’s football team. Follow her on Twitter to learn more about the team.