The Philippines women’s World Cup team has an American flavor

To a country more than 7,000 miles (11,265 kilometers) from the United States Philippines It has a women’s national football team with a distinctly American feel. Of the 23 names on the Women’s World Cup roster, 18 are by US-born women.

one of them, the protector Halli Longwas born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and raised in a Filipino, or Pinoy, household.

“It’s an honor to be able to represent my legacy, just a chance to take it to the people who raised me,” Long said Thursday.

Despite growing up in America, he said, “we had pure Pinoy under one roof, and I didn’t know anything else.”

This, he said, was his “deciding factor” in choosing to play for the Philippines.

“It’s who I was, there’s no doubt about it,” said Long, who played her college football at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

For Philippine head coach Alan Stajic, it doesn’t matter how many Native American players the team has.

Stajic said, “I don’t really care where they were born.” “If they have the Philippines in their heart and blood, and they are good at soccer, they qualify for our team. They all play for their flag, they all play for their country, they all play for the people. “In the Philippines, wherever they live.”

The Philippines, one of eight newcomers to the tournament, will make their Women’s World Cup debut on Friday Switzerland,

The American Heavyweight roster includes players from coast to coast. Olivia And Chandler McDanielA sister pair from California joins Long and peers from Washington, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Connecticut and other states.

Other American-born players are also included. Kiara FontanillaKaia Jota, Alicia Barker, Rina Bonta, Malia Caesar, jessica cowart, Dominic Randall, tehnai anise, Riley Budge, carleigh frills, Isabella Flanigan, katrina guillo, sarah bolden, Isabella Flanigan And quinley quezada,

A combination of factors helps explain why American players end up with the Philippines. As the two-time defending champion of the Women’s World Cup, the United States is not only elite, but also has a large talent pool.

Title IX, the US law that requires equal treatment for female athletes at American colleges, has helped more athletes access quality training and facilities in the United States than in many other countries.

Philippine officials in recent years began mass recruiting in the US for talented players, even holding a two-month training camp in Irvine, California, in 2021.

FIFA rules that players can only represent the country of which they have citizenship. They may have been born there, or have biological ties to a country that allows dual citizenship.

“It’s a way for them to pay respect to their parents,” said Sedelph Tupas, a spokesman for the Philippine team.

Stajic said: “All I know is that this team has Filipino heart, blood, courage and spirit.”

The team’s first Test will be against the Swiss in Dunedin as both the teams begin their group play.

Regarding the Philippines’ qualification for the tournament, Long said, “I always knew I would see it one day in my life.” “I had no idea that I would be here to live it, breathe it, struggle through it, love it as I am now.”

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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