The year 2023 has women athletes finally getting the recognition that they so rightly deserve as the Filipinas team, the groundbreaking Philippine women’s football team, will take center stage in the FIFA Women’s World Cup this July.
To say that this is a significant feat would be an understatement, as this is the first time that a Philippine team of any gender at any age level will appear on the global field.
The pressure is on for the players of the Filipinas, but more than that, their pride and honor of getting to represent the country in the biggest single-sport competition in the world overpower any hesitation that they feel.
During the launch of of the Adidas uniforms that will be worn by team Filipinas for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, PhilSTAR L!fe had the opportunity to speak with two players of the team, Sofia Harrison and Maya Alcantara, on their team's preparation for the upcoming games.
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Harrison underscored that if she were to be chosen to be in the final roster of players, she will do everything in her power to make Filipinos proud of their team and their performance.
"I'm going to do everything in my power to prove to the coaches, to the country why I want to be here and that I deserve to be here. And so just overall, no matter what happens, I'm very grateful for this opportunity and to be able to represent our country," Harrison said.
For Alcantara, the opportunity to play in the FIFA World Cup is "surreal" especially since it's the first appearance for the country. She said, "I think that there's been a lot of hard work, effort, and sacrifice over the last decades trying to develop women's sports and to be in that team to go to the World Cup and represent the Philippines, I couldn't be more grateful."
It is undeniable that the women would have to work to the bone to train as the competition is no joke, with them facing against Switzerland on July 21, New Zealand on July 23, and will finish with Norway on July 30.
When asked how they're preparing, Harrison shared that they're trying to do everything they can to ready themselves physically and mentally for what's to come.
"I have been doing a lot of mental preparedness. All in all, I'm making sure that my body is fit and ready to go at the high intensity, high levels that we're about to compete on the games," she said.
Alcantara added that the pressure to succeed in the games is a challenge that they're willing to accept and assured that will get together to review things that they still need to improve on.
Whatever happens in the field, the girls have fostered a strong bond with each other and will always have each other's back no matter what.
"We're like a family, really, and we're all there for each other. We're there to lift each other up. We're there to make each other compete. It's a very competitive environment, but it's also it's a very trusting environment as well," Harrison highlighted.
"I played football in the states for my college and absolutely loved it. But playing for this team is different," Alcantara said. "We're bonded by our country, by our culture, and that's something so special that you don't get every day. So I try to remind myself to sit in the moment and really embrace it because this doesn't just happen to us."
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20. The Philippines qualified for the football competition after they emerged victorious against Chinese-Taipei, advancing to the Asian Cup semifinals and securing them a historic spot at the World Cup seat.