Thomas Dooley has called up 34 players to his first training squad after being confirmed as the new coach of Philippines last week.
Dooley, who won 81 caps for the United States and played at both the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup, will make his bow as Azkals boss at the start of next month in friendlies against Malaysia and Azerbaijan, after being named successor to German Michael Weiss.
And on Friday morning, the roster for his inaugural training session was revealed with no real surprises, although Philippines fans will be delighted a number of youngsters will be handed invaluable exposure after being called up.
None of the Azkals’ foreign-based contingent were selected due to their ongoing club commitments, meaning they will be without the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Stephan Schrock, Fulham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Ascot United defender Rob Gier and Buriram United striker Javier Patino.
Apart from Patrick Reichelt and Chad Gould – both currently unattached – the entire squad has been selected from United Football League (UFL) clubs; Global the best-represented with 11 players.
Carli de Murga, who has is closing in on a return following a lengthy injury layoff, was given the nod, along with the likes of Jeffrey Christiaens, Misagh Bahadoran, Jason de Jong, Jerry Barbaso and Marvin Angeles.
There is also a first call-up for Filipino-American defender Charley Pettys, who is currently in his first season with Global.
Loyola Meralco Sparks duo James Younghusband and Phil Younghusband are expected to play key roles as usual; the latter especially up front given the absence of Patino, Angel Guirado and Denis Wolf.
However, the lack of established attacking options has enabled Gould and Nate Burkey to earn a recall, while Milan Arends will offer a further alternative.
Philippine Army custodian Eduard Sacapano is certain to get the nod in goal, although there will plenty of competition between youngsters Paolo Pascual, Patrick Deyto and Nick O’Donnell to be his deputy.
Anton Del Rosario, who struggled to force his way into the reckoning during the Weiss era, has also returned from the wilderness and is one of five Kaya players named, including Chris Greatwich and OJ Porteria.
Philippines are currently preparing for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup, which kicks off in May, and were pitted against Afghanistan, Laos and Turkmenistan in Group B on Wednesday.
The winners of the Challenge Cup earn an automatic berth at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.
Philippines training squad
Goalkeepers: Patrick Deyto (Green Archers United), Eduard Sacapano (Philippine Army), Nick O’Donnell (Kaya), Paolo Pascual (Global)
Defenders: Jerry Barbaso, Amani Aguinaldo, Jeffrey Christiaens, Charley Pettys (all Global), Anton Del Rosario (Kaya), Simone Rota (Stallion), Jake Hugo, Ryan Lirio (both Philippine Air Force), Reymark Fernandez (Green Archers United) , Deo Segunial, Nathan Octavio (both Pachanga Diliman)
Midfielders: OJ Porteria, Chris Greatwich, Kenshiro Daniels (all Kaya), Emelio Caligdong, Ronnie Aguisanda (both Green Archers United), James Younghusband (Loyola Meralco Sparks), Marvin Angeles, Marwin Angeles, Carli de Murga, Mark Hartmann, Jason de Jong, Misagh Bahadoran (all Global), Patrick Reichelt (unattached), Rodolf Bebanco (Philippine Air Force), Curt Dizon (Union Internacional Manila)
Forwards: Phil Younghusband (Loyola Meralco Sparks), Nate Burkey (Pachanga Diliman), Milan Arends (Stallion), Chad Gould (unattached)