A new breed of national campaigners is set to compete in the upcoming season of the Philippines Football League (PFL) with the formation of the Azkals Developmental Team (ADT) to prepare the players for 2021 Southeast Asian(SEA) Games and other international competitions.
One of the recruits for the ADT team, composed of players below and mid-20s is collegiate standout Jarvey Gayoso, who forgo his final playing year for Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) to join the team.
Gayoso is one of the members of the U-22 team that competed in the men’s football tournament in the 2019 SEA Games.
Also joining in the squad are several members of the U-22 team that competed in the 2019 SEA Games like the main goalkeepers, Anthony Pinthus, Edison Suerti, Christian Rontini, Chima Uzoka and Troy Limbo.
Mar Vincent Diano, another member of the U-22 SEA Games team will also join the squad after his stint with Mendiola FC 1991 last season.
“This is one of the answers to the clamor to improve our players before they get into the senior team,’’ said Azkals team manager Dan Palami, who is also headed the U-22 management told Inquirer.net.
The ADT team was patterned after the Young Lions FC, currently competing in Singapore’s top-tier league S-League and most members are from Singapore’s U-22 team.
Other members of the ADT are mixed of discoveries, members of U-22 pool and unattached players such as San Beda University (SBU) standout Jerome Marzan, Marcel Ouano, Jose Yared, Lance Ocampo from GOM Academy of former Azkal Darren Hartman and Sandro Reyes, who is part of FC Barcelona Escola, the flagship school of Spanish powerhouse club FC Barcelona.
Unattached players such as Curt Dizon (Ceres-Negros and Thailand’s Chonburi FC), Dean Ebarle (Mendiola FC 1991), Marvin Angeles, Kennedy Uzoka, Matthew Custodio, Fritz Brigoli, all of them last played for Global FC are also part of the club.
Also joining in the team are Quincy Kammeraad, Oliver Corbitt, Kainoa Bailey, Kristoffer Reyes and Simen Lyngbo.
Goran Milojevic, who coached the U-22 team during the 2019 SEA Games will coach the ADT in the 2020 PFL season.
“This is the best time for me to take the leap,” Gayoso said via Inquirer.net on joining the ADT team. “I don’t think I would’ve been as prepared. My mind-set would have been in a different place. So right now, the only thing in my mind at the moment is to have that opportunity to play overseas. I just want to grow as a player.”
Azkals head coach Scott Cooper, who headed the U-22 program is glad on the formation of the ADT team, especially the country, doesn’t have enough professional football academies to prepare younger players for professional ranks and national team duties.
“I think this is the best idea we’ve had since I’ve been here, because there aren’t any really professional club academies here,” Cooper told Inquirer.net. “There are not that many academies and so we needed to find a way that we could identify players and try to develop them.”
The ADT team is one of the six-team competing in the 2020 PFL season together with defending champion Ceres-Negros FC, Kaya Iloilo, Stallion Laguna, Mendiola FC 1991 and Global FC.
The league is tentatively set to kick off on April 18 after the PFL management and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) canceled the original March 21 start after Luzon was put into the enhanced community quarantine by the Philippine government due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.