QUINLEY Quezada and Sarina Bolden, members of the Philippine women’s football team, are heading to Japan to play in its first-ever women's professional football league that will start in September.
The two will take part in the WE (Women Empowerment) League, with Quezada suiting up for the JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies and Bolden with Chifure AS Elfen Saitama. A total of 11 clubs will compete in the inaugural season of the WE League.
Quezada and Bolden were nominated by the Philippine Football Federation as the country’s Asean player for the WE League last March.
“The beautiful game always opens the opportunity for everyone to play at the highest level,” said PFF president Mariano ‘Nonong’ Araneta. “We thank the Japan Football Association for extending the invitation to our Filipino players to play in the WE League. We wish both Quinley and Sarina the best of luck in representing the country in the league.”
Quezada and Bolden, both aged 24, are two of the most prolific scorers of the Malditas in international play particularly in the recent Asean Football Federation Championship and the Southeast Asian Games.
“When I found out I felt overjoyed,” said Quezada, who played college football at University of California-Riverside. “I couldn’t help but jump out of bed and tell my parents the great news.
“I can’t thank the people who’ve helped and supported me throughout this process enough. I’m immensely grateful, excited for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started,” she added.
Bolden, a product of Loyola Marymount, said: “I am so thankful and blessed to still be able to play the game, especially, after a challenging past year that was filled with a lot of uncertainty.
“I thank the PFF for helping and supporting me throughout this process and the WE League for cultivating diversity, empowering women, and making it bigger than just soccer. I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be a part of the WE League’s historic first season this year.”
PFF general secretary Ed Gastanes hopes that the development will spur the growth of women’s football in the country.
“Playing in Japan women league offers our women football players to compete against topnotch players Quinley and Sarina maybe the first but certainly not the last Filipina players who will play in the Japan WE League. It will inspire other women football players in the country to continue developing their skills for a chance to play in the international stage,” he said.
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