The FIFA World Cup-bound squad could've lost a key cog.
Safe to say, Jaclyn Sawicki is having a great career. She won the historic AFF Women's Championship with the Philippine Women's National Football Team last year and now, she's the captain of Western United in Australia's A-League. The midfielder is also well on her way to appear with the Filipinas in the FIFA World Cup this July.
However, there was almost an alternate universe where she wouldn't be wearing the Filipinas jersey.
Based on a report by Tim Grainey of Tribal Football, it actually took the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) two tries to get Sawicki. See, she is actually eligible to play for three countries: Canada, Poland, and the Philippines.
The 30-year-old booter already played for Canada's Under-20 squad, having been born and raised there. She even wore the Maple Leaf in the 2012 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Japan, making a goal against Argentina during the group stage.
With her Polish father, Sawicki was also invited to the training camp of Poland in 2013. But she said the "big language barrier" was too tough to navigate.
She is eligible to play for the Philippines because of her Filipina mother, leading to the PFF first approaching her in 2017. She, however, turned down the offer to concentrate on her club career in Japan.
The PFF knocked on her doors again in February 2022, right after the Filipinas made history by beating Chinese-Taipei in the AFC Women's Asian Cup and sealing their historic ticket to the FIFA World Cup.
"To put it simply, it just felt right to," Sawicki said in the interview. "Even though I had stints with the Canadian National Team and went to an U-20 World Cup, I never felt like I grew up in a Canadian home."
"My mother has been my biggest supporter throughout my career and I was never great at expressing my appreciation for everything she has done for me. So, I guess this was my way of showing gratitude and telling her I am proud to be Filipino."
Sawicki added that she particularly liked the PFF's move to restructure its grassroots program and to inspire more Filipinas to play the beautiful game, hoping that the country's stint to the FIFA World Cup "becomes a consistent thing."
Sawicki is back with the Filipinas after missing the last seven months due to an injury, suiting up for two games in the recently concluded Pinatar Cup in Spain.