February 28, 2024

Filipinas' Chandler McDaniel reflects on faith as she returns to the field

IG/Chandler McDaniel

Over a year after suffering from an ACL injury in the Filipinas' 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup semifinal match against South Korea, 25-year-old forward Chandler McDaniel was able to get back on the field as part of the Philippine Women's National Football Team (PWNFT).

And she announced her return in fiery fashion in the 2024 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament. McDaniel delivered the fourth goal for the Filipinas at the 85th minute against Pakistan on April 5.

She then proved her return was no fluke with a brace (60th minute, 89th minute) to seal the Filipinas' victory against Tajikistan on April 8.

"A year ago I was struggling to accept the fact that I had torn my ACL. This month I was finally able to play for my country again," she posted on Instagram.

"Always trust in the plan God has made for you. I couldn’t be happier to be back out here with my team!" McDaniel added.

"Can’t wait to see where God’s plan takes me next!"

"Proud of you! God is so good," teammate Sofia Harrison commented. Fellow Filipinas Kaya Hawkinson, Jessika Cowart, Quinley Quezada, and Cam Rodriguez sent nothing but hearts in support.

The Filipinas have secured a second round berth in the AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Coach Alen Stajcic, McDaniel, and the rest of the team will next be focusing on the Filipinas' campaign in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games happening this May, with the goal of improving on their bronze medal finish last year. But they would have to face defending champion Vietnam, along with Myanmar, Indonesia, and Malaysia in the group stage.

The team's SEA Games stint is expected to help the squad as it prepares for its FIFA Women's World Cup debut in July.