National players Rob Gier, Joshua Beloya, and Simon Greatwich are among the prominent new names on United Football League rosters when league competition begins this Saturday.
The Filipino-British Gier, a valuable defender for the Azkals, has joined powerhouse Global FC, which finished second in the league last season. The 31-year-old has second-tier league experience in England, and has spent the past few years playing in the lower rungs of English football.
Beloya, one of local football’s emerging stars, will be part of Kaya FC. He was named Best Striker at the Philippine Football Federation Suzuki Under-23 tournament before bursting onto national consciousness when he scored two goals in the dying minutes to give the country its first win in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games over Laos .
Greatwich, meanwhile, is listed on the roster of the star-studded Loyola Meralco Sparks, which dominated the Cup competition before dropping the final to Air Force. Originally from England, he moved to the United States in 2009 to play football for Hartwick College. Simon is the younger brother of veteran Azkals midfielder Chris Greatwich.
Two other notable addition are Fil-Spanish players Juan Luis Guirado, the older brother of Azkals forward Angel, who joins his brother on the Global lineup, and Carli de Murga, who will also be part of Global.
The UFL roster list also reveals some curious moves by each team. Veteran Darren Hartmann has left Loyola to join Nomads Auction FC, even as his brothers Mark and Matthew remain with the Sparks. Former national player Anto Gonzales has also signed with Loyola.
Global has also let go of forward Janrick Soriano, a veteran of the Homeless World Cup who served as a spark plug for Global during the Cup. But Lexter Maravilla, another former Homeless World Cup participant, has been included in the Global lineup.