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World Cup-bound Filipinas parade Beard

‘We have that strong connection over there. I visited the Philippines over the past six months.’

(Right) ANGELA Beard is part of the FIFA World Cup-bound Philippine national team now training overseas. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PFF

Filipino-Australian football player Angela Beard hopes to debut for the Philippines at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand not just for herself but for her family as well.

The 25-year-old defender’s reason to switch from representing the Australian national team to the Filipinas is because she wants to represent the birthplace of her Filipina mother, who came from Cebu City.

Beard, who plays for Western United FC in the A-League Women in Australia, is currently part of the 29-woman team in the Filipinas training camp in Australia.

Another factor why she wanted to play for the Philippines was because of head coach Alen Stajcic.

“We have that strong connection over there. I visited the Philippines over the past six months. It’s a very charming place, a very exciting experience, to be able to travel there and really connect myself to the culture of the country,” Beard said.

“Yeah, I’ve known Staj (Stajcic) for a little while now. I think we met when I was 16, 17 or 18, something like that. He’s a great coach and left a great impression on me. A big factor to why I came over here to the Philippines.”

“It’s a big part of me over there and I’m really happy to be here representing all of them and representing the Philippines as well.”

Beard made her debut for the senior team of the Matildas in 2021 and played three friendlies for the Matildas against the Republic of Ireland, Brazil and the United States.

She is eligible to switch federations as she only played in friendly games for Australia, making her move to the Filipinas last year official.

Having Beard will be a big boost for the Filipinas in their World Cup debut as she will team up with the likes of Hali Long, Sofia Harrison, Jessica Cowart and Reina Bonta.

She played in Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur, Melbourne Victory, Fortuna Hjørring and Western United FC in her football career, making 130 matches in the professional level.

Beard is already enjoying the camaraderie of her teammates since her first training camp in Costa Rica last October.

“This is only my second camp and I feel like I made a lot of good friendships and a lot of good connections. The girls are not only talented footballers but they are very friendly and the fan group, the community and the Philippines accepted me and supported me in a way that makes me valued and respected as a player,” Beard said.

“And I’m really excited to be here and explore more of the Philippines and I guess more of my footballing self as well.”

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