National team player Iain Ramsay headlined the biggest additions to the Ceres Negros FC squad which aims to bounce back from a disappointing 2016.
For Ramsay, a former Adelaide United and Melbourne City winger, the decision to join the Bacolod-based club was an easy one to make.
“At this stage it made sense for me to commit to Ceres. They’ve been in contact with me for a while now. After my stint in Iran, I want to stay in Asia, and playing for Philippine National Team, and Ceres have been keeping a close eye on me. Am very excited to join the club”, he told Interaksyon.com
“Many Asian clubs were interested before Ceres, but in the end, I’ve made the right choice, everything fit into place.”
After a stint in Iranian side Tractor Sazi, Ramsay is making a return to his mother’s roots in the Philippines, Negros, where he will play in the inaugural Philippines Football League, set to start this year.
“I’m very excited for PFL; it’s great to be a part of it. I’ve come to a club that is highly ambitious, not only in Philippines but in Asia as a whole, which made my decision to come here much easier,” he added.
He is joining a Ceres side that’s still licking its wounds from its setbacks last season. Despite a star studded line-up that included Bundesliga veteran Stephan Schrock, they could only finish second behind Global FC in the United Football League.
Ceres likewise crashed out of the first knockout stage of the 2016 AFC Cup which was played in its hometown Bacolod. They are keen to make amends this year.
Apart from Ramsay, Ceres has also signed up fellow Azkals players Simone Rota, OJ Porteria and Junior Munoz. Veteran Jason de Jong and promising youngster Josh Grommen are also part of the club’s newest additions.
“We have a well-balanced squad and national team players in the team. I think we have both experience and young players in the squad. From what I see, it’s the right balance,” Ramsay said.
“(I hope) to be playing week in and week out and I feel I can contribute a lot to Ceres. Personally I went through a lot with my previous club in Iran and I want to concentrate to playing week in week out with Ceres. They’re having a good team with a good foundation.”
The Australian-born Ramsay has high hopes for himself and his team this season.
“(I’m) happy to be here and I’ve come here to be successful and take this club to another level along with my teammates. I’m 28, I feel I have some really good years ahead of me and hope to do well for Ceres,” he said.
“I hope to see fans in Bacolod supporting our team. It’s an exciting time to be with the club and the team has a great chance to do well.”
Ceres-Negros will kick off their AFC Cup campaign on February 21 versus Hanoi FC in Vietnam before playing back-to-back games at home in Bacolod on March 7 and March 15 against Tampines Rovers and Felda United, respectively.
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