Sunday, September 8, 2013

My third AFF! -Myanmar

Well another country to put under my belt. For the next two weeks I will be in Yangon, Myanmar also known as Burma. I will be with the Philippine National Football Team competiting in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Football Federation (AFF) Women's Championship. The teams participating are in two groups: Group A- Australia (Youth team), Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Jordan and Group B- Philippines, Japan (Youth team), Myanmar, Indonesia, and Laos. We will play all the teams in our group and then the top two teams from both groups will advance. 

The last two years we have had a bit of bad luck in this tournament. Both times we played the champions in the group stage. Last year we had both finalists in the group stage. This year we couldn't bring our filams (Filipino Americans) from AFC qualifiers as they are in school now and taking part in their college seasons. Though we have still picked up other filams that are working around their high school schedules. We have the most US based girls we have ever had for this tournament, but most are brand new to the team and will be receiving their first caps and the majority are juniors and seniors in high school playing for our senior national team!! It will be interesting to see how we will compare to the other countries. 

We have a lot of talent on our team, but talent isn't all you need. A lot of these teams have the same girls that they have had for years. They have experience and have had time to get to know eachother and how their teammates play. Though, that also makes it easier for us to figure their team out especially when they really haven't changed their system and how they play. Most of these teams are pretty much at the same level while the Philippines is always improving.  Last time fifa rankings came out we were the most improved team in the world! 

In my opinion, we have what it takes to perform well this tournament. It's a matter of our team coming together and believing in ourselves. I know the new girls feel a lot of pressure and ofcourse they are nervous playing their first international game of their lives! But that's the difference between people who are successful and people who are just stagnate and never achieve. People who are successful want to be successful. They believe in themselves when no ones else does. They don't back down and they don't quit. They may encounter setbacks but they are determined, passionate, and full of desire. If we can envelop those feelings and that yearning for greatness I know we will be able to accomplish what we want. The world is full of opportunity and it is waiting for people to take a hold of those opportunities and convert them into success.

 I have high hopes for this group of girls even beyond this tournament. What I would give to be 17 again in their shoes, a year away from college! It is just beginning for them, but it's also certainly not over for me!