Playing at home meant so much to Sarina Bolden.
On a rainy Monday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium, the 29-year-old Fil-American from Sta. California’s Clara found a scoring chance for the Philippines women’s national soccer team. “The last time I scored was at the 2022 Southeast Asian Games. And we got third place. Now it’s very special, with the game happening here,” Bolden said just after the Philippines stunned Australia’s Under-23 team 1-0.
This allowed the Philippines to start their campaign in the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation Women’s Championship on a high note.
What made it even more meaningful for Bolden and his teammates was the turnout of fans, who showed up, numbering 1,400 or more.
And they cheered so much that the players were energized all evening, even if a light rain came to soak them from time to time.
“With the World Cup coming up, we want to go as far as possible,” added Bolden, who scored the game’s only goal from a header in the 60th minute.
“The fans were so loud. The noise that was heard after the final whistle was unbelievable,” Philippines head coach Alen Stajcic said of the enthusiastic crowd support the Philippines got.
Stajcic, however, hopes more fans will come to their next four games.
“We have four games left in the group, then semi-finals and finals and if we get that far this team definitely deserves a sale,” Stajcic added.
The Philippines will then face Singapore on Wednesday at 7 p.m., while Australia U23 will face Thailand at the same time at the Imus City Stand in Cavite.