The inaugural season of the expanded Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Women’s League is set to kick off with a brand-new format at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium starting on November 12.
The tournament, which is now on its third year since its foundation in 2014, was made possible through the FIFA Women’s Football Development Project in the country.
For the first time, the competition is set to hold a full season of women’s football that will be held in a double-round league format and will run until July of next year.
The first round of the tournament will be staged until February of next year followed by a midseason break that will include a transfer window.
A total of 11 teams composed of squads from the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) together with local clubs banner the tourney.
Reigning varsity champions University of the Philippines headline the collegiate representatives with Far Eastern University, De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University and University of Santo Tomas.
The women’s crews of United Football League platoon Kaya FC and Green Archers United FC round up the participants together with Hiraya FC, Outkast FC, The Younghusband Football Academy and Fuego Espana FC.
According to PFF General Secretary Edwin Gastanes, this season will be monumental as they consider it as the preparation in their bid to establish a bigger amateur women’s league in the future.
He added that they opted to hold a bigger tournament to give the local players an avenue were they can play other than during their college football season.
“We want to provide more matches for our women’s players. We know that they have a limited number of matches in the university tournaments,”
Also, Gastanes explained that it is also part of their plan of elevation the stature of the sport in the domestic scene and reiterated, “We hope that by participating in the league matches, their skills will be increased together with their stamina.”
Meanwhile, PFF Women’s Department head Lalaine Sarmiento believed that all facets of the fast-growing women’s football circuit in the Philippines, including the referees and the coaches, will benefit from the new format.
“Not only the players will benefit from this program. Everybody will be improving as progress will be seen in this tournament. There will be further education for the coaches and referees,” she concluded.
JAELLE NEVIN REYES