Scrimmages are done and now players called up to the Masakåda Talent Identification Camp in San Diego are awaiting the results of the preliminary roster selection before the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers in September, the Guam Football Association stated in a press release.
After competing in three scrimmages over the past five days, the athletes said they’re looking forward to the opportunity to represent the island at the Asian Cup qualifiers.
“I am definitely looking forward to finding out if I’ve been selected,” said Lily Jose, who currently plays for Chapman University in the NCAA Div. III Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Jose said she will be training over the next eight weeks in anticipation of being called up to represent Guam.
“I’m playing with a summer team, then I’m back down at Chapman for my preseason with my college team,” she said. “We’ll have some double days, do fitness testing – do what I need to stay in shape and hopefully get back to the team soon.”
Jose scored for Guam in its 1-1 draw against the DMCV Sharks Sunday morning at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.
In an effort to evaluate skill and fitness level, Guam Women’s National Team head coach Sang Hoon Kim and assistant coach Rhoda Bamba tried different combinations of players, giving the athletes the opportunity to showcase their skills.
Jose started as a right back and later moved into a center midfielder position later in the match.
“Coming off of two pretty tough matches, it was nice to just kind of catch our rhythm as a team,” Jose said after the match. “We were passing a lot more, keeping a lot more possession and it just felt right when I took a shot. April (Talledo) was making her run out wide and it was drawing all the defenders out. The middle was wide open and I had an open look. The feeling of scoring a goal – there’s nothing like it. It just boosts your self-confidence and you feel like you have helped the team out in a big way."
Jose said the training was expected, and the camp helped build team chemistry.
“I think that’s the No. 1 thing that most national teams miss is the lack of chemistry because players are all coming from different parts of the world, from different clubs,” Jose added.
Jose first took part in a Masakåda Talent Identification Camp in 2018 in Dallas, Texas, where she met a handful of players later selected for the EAFF E-1 Football Championship Preliminary Round 1 competition in Mongolia in September that year. Jose was not able to commit to the EAFF tournament and, since that competition, the Masakåda have not played in any international matches.
The roster – under the guidance of Kim and Bamba – will be released in a few weeks. Selection will be from all players eligible to play for Guam, in order to assemble the strongest team possible when the Masakåda return to AFC competition for the first time since 2003. Guam was drawn into Group D of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers with Myanmar, Lebanon, and United Arab Emirates. The Lebanon Football Association announced Monday that Lebanon will be the host of Group D.
“Thanks to Guam Football Association executives, we were able to make this ID camp possible to see and evaluate eligible players for Guam,” Kim said. “Due to COVID-19, it’s been difficult to evaluate potential players since they have not been playing many matches. With this camp, I met some players in person for the first time and saw firsthand all the players’ performance and game knowledge in match situations and also in which positions the players would possibly best contribute to the team.”
The return to AFC is crucial, Kim said, adding the success rides on improving domestic squad training and finding the best players abroad to complement the pool of talent.
The camp concluded Sunday with players and coaches departing shortly after the morning scrimmage. A total of 19 players took part in this past week’s camp: Sabrina Garrido, Kaycee Hoover, Kiarra Hutcherson, Asia Sage Jackson, Spenser Jaye, Lily Jose, Jordyn Matthews, Andrea Odell, Aida-Rose Dydasco Pedemonte, Camille Pereira, Jenae Perez, Inyssa Perez, Madison Perez, Mihaela Perez, Sirena Rocca, Sarah Schiff, Paige Surber, April Talledo, and Tatyana Ungacta.
The domestic squad continues to train on the pitch twice weekly at the Guam Football Association National Training Center. The squad also engages in strength and conditioning training once a week with high performance coach Pavel Gubenko at the GFA Fitness Center.