One of the most exciting times for football fans is when the transfer window opens.
For those new to the game what happens in the league is for a period of time before the season starts teams can buy and sell players.
The best teams look to pick out the best players from elsewhere, offer them great wages for joining their team and the better chance of winning trophies.
Then players, and particularly their agents, leak quotes and give very mysterious statements about their future in an attempt to send a coded message or keep their options open.
Learning the ropes
In the Philippines, though, the league is still quite new. We’ve only just finished the third season and we’re unsure of when the transfer windows will open for the season ahead.
Most leagues and fans know this well before the season ends as it’s announced at the beginning of each season and this is one thing the UFL will have to sort out to become more professional.
But when the transfer window does open, it will begin the excitement and flurry of activity. Already big names are being linked with other teams and the rumors are circulating.
This gives fans the chance to speculate on who their club should bring in to improve their side while big clubs look to poach the best players from the smaller teams and the smaller teams look to find unknown stars before interest develops.
The transfer window only opens for a certain length of time though, usually about a month into the new season. Then it’s closed and teams have to deal with the players they’ve got.
In most leagues it opens again for a month half way through the season before closing until the end of season, giving teams one last chance to get some star players.
Last season saw the likes of Angel and Juani Guirado join Global with Patrick Reichelt and the Angeles brothers, Marwin and Marvin.
The Younghusband and Hartmann brothers joined Loyola and almost won the league with them while Lexton Moy, Nate Burkey and Joshua Beloya joined Kaya during this time.
Transfers and speculation
This season will see a host of new faces join the league and switch teams.
Some transfers already seem set in place as Denis Wolf hinted over Twitter that he was to join Global next season while the Stallions already boast two new signings in Jason De Jong and Rufino Sanchez.
De Jong will return to the Philippines after the trial with Scottish side Ayr United ended with the club unable to afford new players while Rufino Sanchez loved his time in the Philippines so much during Inter De Madrid’s tour that he will now stay here permanently.
Chieffy off to Texas?
Meanwhile the rumors and speculation have begun over the Air Force’s dynamic duo of Chieffy Caligdong and Ian Araneta.
Over Twitter, Caligdong said that he was leaving for Texas with his wife, a registered nurse, who found employment in the States. When they will leave is uncertain, however, with a host of UFL clubs interested in the 29 year old winger in the meantime.
Ian Araneta, meanwhile, is still one of the best strikers in the league but doesn’t have too many years left before he’ll have to retire.
For both of the Iloilo natives, the next few years are their chance to earn a little more after they’ve given so much for Philippine football.
They may need to join bigger clubs to have a better chance of staying in the National team – Araneta especially having been on the fringes lately, not even coming on as a substitute during the 3-0 victory over Guam in Bacolod.
Recruitment constraints, money trail
With the UFL’s top four looking to build and improve their squads expect a host of rumors to circulate in the coming months until the transfer window slams shut.
The growing money involved in the league also allows the teams to attract the better players with Global, Kaya, Loyola and Stallions all vying for the best players.
Army and the Air Force will struggle here as they only field players who are members of their Armed Forces, offering far less in the way of salaries due to their governmental responsibilities.
Given the Nomads’ transfer policy of allowing members of the Nomads club to play for them also, they will be particularly interested in the Fil-British players.
The most prominent are the Younghusband and Hartmann brothers, and if ever they become available the Nomads will certainly come knocking.
Darren Hartmann just finished the season on loan at Nomads and they may well be looking to make his deal permanent. Loyola, however, will be looking to keep hold of their own players ahead of the next season unless they can find replacements.
The Green Archers’ new sponsorship deal means they will also be looking to spend as they seek to climb up the table.
This begins a great period of uncertainty for teams and players and it can be one of the most stressful times for Managers and players alike… but it is one of the most exciting times for fans.
So keep an eye out for the transfer rumors and signings that will be happening over the next few months!