The Philippine national women’s football team, known as the Filipinas, has unveiled their final 23-player squad for the upcoming 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Among the notable selections is key defender Angela Beard, who has previously represented Australia in international competitions. Her connection with coach Alen Stajcic greatly influenced Beard’s joining the Filipinas.
Beard revealed in an interview posted by the Philippine Women’s National Football Team on Facebook that she had known Coach Stajcic since her teenage years, making the transition to the Philippines a bit easier. She spoke highly of Stajcic, emphasizing his impact on her decision to join the team.
Since Stajcic was appointed the head coach of the Filipinas in 2021, he has guided the team to numerous historic victories. One year after his appointment, Stajcic accomplished the unthinkable by leading the Filipinas to qualify for the 2023 World Cup after a crucial win over Chinese Taipei in the Women’s Asian Cup.
However, it wasn’t just Stajcic who left a lasting impression on Beard. She also appreciated the team, emphasizing the solid friendships and connections she has built with her teammates. Coming from a Filipino heritage (her mother hails from Cebu), Beard felt warmly welcomed and supported by the team and the passionate fan base in the Philippines.
Joining Beard in the defensive lineup for the World Cup are Jessika Cowart, Dominique Randle, Sofia Harrison, Malea Cesar, Alicia Barker, and Reina Bonta. The Filipinas have already arrived in New Zealand and are preparing for a training match against Sweden on July 17, followed by their opening match against Switzerland in Dunedin.
In a separate development, Jessica Miclat expressed disappointment after being cut from the final World Cup roster. Miclat took to Facebook to share her feelings, describing herself as “gutted, heartbroken, disappointed, and confused.” She believed in God’s plan and acknowledged that everything happens for a reason.
Miclat was one of three players who didn’t make the final cut from the 29-player pool participating in a rigorous four-week training camp in Sydney, Australia. Eva Madarang and Kaya Hawkinson were the other two players not included in the final roster.
Coach Stajcic, who faced a challenging decision in finalizing the squad, highlighted that the selection process was not easy. Miclat remained upbeat despite the setback and expressed her intention to share her story and experience involving the national team.
She also requested the fans to refrain from making assumptions or attacking her character or her family’s character, as this is an emotional time for her and her loved ones. Miclat expressed gratitude for the support she has received over the years and urged fans to continue supporting women’s football and the Philippines during their World Cup journey.
While disappointed, Miclat is determined to bounce back and will focus on regrouping and preparing for the second half of her club season with Swedish club Eskilstuna United DFF. Her contributions to the Filipinas’ journey in previous tournaments, such as the Women’s Asian Cup and the AFF Women’s Championship, have been significant, and she hopes to represent the Philippines again in the future.