The last week of January was quite hectic, with two major announcements any football fan should look forward to.
It started on a Monday, with shampoo brand Clear announcing its partnership with Manchester United. The two entities will be conducting the Clear-Manchester United Football Camp, essentially bringing the philosophy espoused by the Manchester United Soccer Schools to 32 promising young players culled from a nationwide search.
Jamie Reigle, Managing Director of Manchester United Asia Pacific has mentioned that the club has 10 million followers in the Philippines, so it would be interesting to see just how much this club will galvanize its supporters and catapult the status of football in the country.
This partnership can’t help but fuel the rumor mill. Looking at the Clear Dream Match’s records, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think that a couple of former Red Devils may just fly in. There’s also the pipe dream of bringing the first team to these shores—perhaps in the 2015 Asia tour?
The Philippine men’s national football team finally has a new coach in the form of former USMNT captain Thomas Dooley. There is no doubt about the man’s playing pedigree, having played for the Bundesliga and MLS. He earned 81 caps for the USA and captained the country to the 1998 World Cup (they went on to lose all three games in the group stages).
One eyebrow-raiser to Dooley’s profile is the lack of managerial experience, with his last stint as manager being a decade ago, to third-tier Bundesliga team FC Saarbrücken. He also had stints as an assistant to USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, as Player Development Program Manager with South Coast Bayern Futbol Club, and as assistant coach to the Pateadores academy team, which he helped convert from a last-place team to a U18 championship-winning one.
There’s considerable reason to be optimistic with Dooley—not only does he bring experience playing football at the highest levels, but his exposure in Germany and the US ought to lend a keen understanding of the game—from established powerhouses to fledgling leagues—and this might just prove to be most useful to the Philippines.
2014 should make for a quite interesting year of the Philippines. Beyond the big announcements in January, there are things to look forward to, including the Challenge Cup and the Suzuki Cup. These are the platforms to show just how much we’ve matured—and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to demand for silverware other than the Peace Cup to show for this year.