Never doubt the Filipinas.
The Philippine Women's National Football Team, also known as the Filipinas, is a living and breathing proof that Philippine football is of international level.
Just in case anyone has been trapped in a cave or basement for the past two years, here's a reminder that the Filipinas are competing in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. And they are not going for a mere participation trophy. They are the real deal, and here are nine reasons why.
Filipinas got talent
Literally almost every member of the Filipinas is signed with international clubs, outside of national team duties.
Now, this can mean the Philippines has yet to mount a successful and thriving local league. But it also speaks of the quality of talent this team has. The squad's composition has players suiting up for clubs in Australia, Brazil, Sweden, Norway, Serbia, and the United States.
Chemistry is better than the periodic table
One would think the Filipinas might have trouble building chemistry because of logistics issues. One national team that shall not be named has experienced that same problem time and time again.
But that's not an issue for the Filipinas, who have shown they have rock-solid relationship inside and outside the pitch. They really do enjoy each other's company, and that has proven to be a winning formula for the Philippines.
Program has direction
A huge and good reason for that chemistry comes from the fact that the PWNFT has a good program direction. Every step has meaning and every game has purpose.
In 2022, the Filipinas played 27 matches, including two tournaments and 15 friendlies. The team had a winning record in that span.
For 2023, an intense build-up for the FIFA Women's World Cup is already set, beginning with the recently concluded Pinatar Cup in Spain.
They have faith in themselves
Of course, fans will not believe if the players themselves do not.
Good thing, the country's top booters know what's up. During the announcement of Adidas as the official apparel sponsor of the Filipinas, goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel proclaimed they are "not just a ragtag group of girls anymore" and that the Filipinas "should be taken seriously."
That confidence is not empty noise, though, because the Filipinas have the credentials to back it up.
In 2022 alone, they made not one, not two, but three historic feats. They booked the country's very first FIFA Women's World Cup appearance after reaching the semifinals of the AFC Asian Cup. The SEA Games bronze followed a few months later—the country's first medal in the event since 1985. The Filipinas followed that up with a revenge win over Thailand to win the country's very first AFF Women's Championship trophy in July.
This year, the Filipinas are geared to break more barriers and create more history.
Not afraid of the big stage
All of these victories proved that the Filipinas are not afraid to be underdogs against the sport's giants.
In their first practice tournament for the FIFA Women's World Cup build-up, the Philippines faced three higher-seeded teams in the Pinatar Cup.
Although they succumbed to three losses, Filipinas coach Alen Stajcic said he saw good effort and fight from the upstart squad.
The Stajcic effect
A lot of confidence of and to the Filipinas are also attributed to Stajcic, who took the reigns of the Filipinas in October 2021.
The Australian tactician pretty much steered the squad to an astronomical rise in such short period.
They love playing for the Philippines
Doubters will say the Filipinas are predominantly composed of half-Pinays. But they bleed the Philippine colors (of course not literally).
The mere fact that they are playing for the Philippines means they chose to represent the three stars and a sun over another country. That's 100% dedication and love for the Philippines and no amount of argument can counter that. Not to steal another national team's mojo, but it is what the legion of fans call PUSO.
They play for something bigger
And more than just playing, the Filipinas know that every move they make inside the pitch is another step towards a bigger goal. That is to assure football's growth in the Philippines and lay the foundation for the next generation of Filipinas.