Malditas open up US training camp ahead of 2018 tournament

CORONA — Off to the pitch for these ladies.

The Malditas have set up shop in Corona in preparation for some big tournaments in 2018, including the AFC Women’s Cup and the SEAGames.

“This is the World Cup qualifiers we could be the first team to qualify for the World Cup. We’re reaching for the stars here and I think it’s possible with this set of girls,” said Natasha Alquiros.

The Philippine National team has scoured the world for talents, bringing in Filipinas from throughout the US, as well as Denmark and Canada to join forces with local players.

“It’s a great honor to have the possibility to play for the Philippines and represent a side of your ethnicity that’s a great experience,” said Serena Bolden. “You get the chance to go to Jordan.

While several Philippine players will eventually join the team during the next four months, they’ve also gone International with the coaching staff.

“This is a very talented group of young ladies,” said Rich Boone. “We are here in Corona in preparation for the World Cup qualification in Jordan. We’re very excited with the talent pool that we have. We have upcoming fixtures with the girls and the dates in preparation for the ultimate goal to play in Paris in the World Cup.”

For the last 5 years the Malditas have been holding camps in the US as they try to find talent and sharpen their skills.

The pool has over a hundred ladies — 48 joined them for the first camp session, and 23 women will ultimately be selected to go to Jordan.

“They’ve contributed a lot to the growth in women’s football in the international scene we want them to go to the next level,” said Ernie Nierras. “And the work that the 2017 team that went to AFC qualifiers in drive us past that hump, and now we’re going to the championships for AFC.”

Victories in the two tournaments can punch their tickets to the FIFA World Cup in 2019.

Throughout the four-month training camp, the ladies will be playing local club pro and college teams, serving as a series of tune-ups for the ultimate goals.

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