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Monday, April 21, 2014

MP United defender to play in UFL

Enrico Del Rosario steps up on defense, as a fellow PH Teen Azkals player goes for a kick during a training session in the Philippines last year. (Contributed Photo) MP United defender Enrico Del Rosario has signed up with Agila FC and will be playing in the youth division of the Philippines premier league, the United Football League, this summer.

“This will be a big help for me as a player because I will experience high level of football and play with different teammates, system, and playing style. Everything will be a learning process and this will only help me become a better player and a better person,” said the member of the MP United U18 and men’s teams.

Del Rosario was under the radar of Agila FC, a club that runs its youth program with the Manila Soccer Academy, after seeing the MP United defender play in the 2013 Pilipinas Cup International Invitational Youth Tournament in Sta. Rosa, Laguna late last year. Del Rosario and his MP United had a podium finish in the tournament, stunning La Salle Greenhills in the third place match, 2-1

“We saw Enrico play in the Pilipinas Cup 2013 and he was outstanding. We also found out that he is under the Philippine Team youth program, so we decided to invite him to play for our team in the UFL Youth League. Who wouldn’t want a Teen Azkal on your team?,” Agila FC general manager Troy Borja said in an email to Saipan Tribune.

“As a Saipan-based player, Enrico will be a benchmark for our local players. Our players are used to playing against the same kids in their school varsity programs and club tournaments. It is not often they get to see how foreign-trained players play. Hopefully this will improve everyone’s game,” Borja added.

The club manager also took note of Del Rosario’s versatility, which will be a big help to the team.

“We also like his versatility. He can play either defense or offense. We like Enrico’s work rate and fitness. He seems to be always there whenever he is needed,” Borja added.

With Agila FC, Del Rosario will be teaming up with varsity players from Ateneo, San Agustin, and Don Bosco, and other schools in Manila. These three schools are known to have strong football programs.

As for the league, 52 teams were entered in the competition last year and more are expected to join in this summer’s tournament, which feature squads from Division 1 and 2 clubs under UFL. Games in the UFL Youth League will be played at the Emperador Stadium in McKinkley Hill in Taguig.

When asked about his upcoming stint in UFL, Del Rosario said he has mixed emotion.

“I am nervous in away, but feel more excited because I will learn new things that will improve my game. Playing high level of football gives me more motivation to strive and train harder everyday ,” the Mount Carmel School student said.

The MP United standout also said he will try to live up to expectations, especially on the defensive end.

“Playing hard nose defense will be my main contribution to the team. I will fight to win the ball at all cost. I’ve been working on aerial battles and that will be an additional arsenal that I can bring into the table,” Del Rosario said, who thanked CNMI national coaches for helping him become a good player.

“They have helped me grow and improve my level of confidence. They taught me not to quit and keep striving to improve my game,” the new Agila FC recruit said.

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