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Bolden: We are all connected

SARINA Bolden and the Filipinas battle New Zealand to keep their hopes alive in the preliminaries of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.  | SANKA VIDANAGAMA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Philippine national women’s football team has been competing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand with only one homegrown player.

But star forward Sarina Bolden said their birthplace doesn’t matter.

“It doesn’t matter where we were born because we’ve all had this one thing that is connecting us — and that is being a Filipino,” Bolden, who was born in California, said in a report by Australian website

“So, in the locker room, we’re all able to connect, get the morale up, no matter what.”

The Filipinas have truly the most diverse roster in this prestigious 32-nation tourney.

Aside from the
27-year-old Bolden, 17 other members of the squad were born in the United States, including stars like Hali Long, Olivia and Chandler McDaniel, Quinley Quezada and Tahnai Annis.

Meanwhile, Meryll Serrano and Sara Eggesvik were born in Norway, and Jaclyn Sawicky in Canada. Only Anicka Castañeda is considered as a homegrown player as she was born in Mandaluyong City and played college ball at De La Salle University.

But for Filipinas head coach Alen Stajcic, it doesn’t really matter.

“Ultimately, they all have Filipino blood, they all love their country, they all love their heritage, they all love their culture, so getting the bond is actually not difficult,” said Stajcic, an Australian whose relatives were immigrants from Eastern Europe.

“Growing up in Australia, it’s full of immigrants and sometimes the passion for the country that the people left is even greater than the ones who have stayed behind.”

He added that Filipinos may have come from all over the world, but they speak the same language of passion, gratitude and humility, something that these Filipinas possess heading into the biggest and most prestigious tourney in the world.

“There is an unbelievable passion for the country, and a level of gratitude and humility which I haven’t seen in many other teams in the world,” he said.

“That makes it probably one of the best cultures of teams that I’ve ever worked in.”

Bolden said they may have lost their first match to Switzerland, 0-2, but they are determined to bounce back and come up with an inspired performance against host New Zealand on Tuesday and Norway on Sunday.

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