FRIENDLY MATCH: BECKHAM'S GALAXY VS PHL AZKALS AT RIZAL MEMORIAL, DEC 3
[PHOTO - GALAXY VS AZKALS Photo shows English footballer David Beckham who plays midfield for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer. Beckham and the LA Galaxy is set to meet the Philippine Azkals in a friendly match at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex on December 3, 2011. (AP Photo)]
MANILA, OCTOBER 29, 2011 (BULLETIN) Roll out the red carpet for David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane.
The trio will be the stars of the Los Angeles Galaxy when the two-time Major League Soccer champion meets the Philippine Azkals in a friendly match on December 3 at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
LA Galaxy President Thomas Payne said the face-off between the Galaxy and the Azkals, a team made up mainly of Filipinos who grew up in Europe and the United States, is a breakthrough for the development of the sport in the Philippines.
[PHOTO OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM, The Philippine Azkals]
“We want to leave something behind,” said Payne during Thursday’s press conference at a hotel in Makati City, noting that visiting exotic locales like Manila “is part of what we do to promote the sport.”
Payne said the Galaxy stars will be in full force, something that should leave Filipino fans in awe since it is rare that a top-caliber and popular squad strut their stuff on local shores.
Philippine Football Federation head Nonong Araneta said the last time a top foreign club visited the Philippines to play was in the 1970s when Cruzeiro of Brazil took on the national team.
“This is a big match for us to end the year,” said Araneta. “What more can you ask for in football?’
Dan Palami, who manages the Azkals, said he has al ready sent out invites to goalie Neil Etheridge, who plays for the Philippine team, and those based in Denmark and Germany.
The Manila leg will be a part of the Galaxy’s multi-tour in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Payne, who gave the Rizal pitch a thumbs-up sign during an inspection.
“The field was wonderful. More than what we expected. We’ve done these games all over the world. This will be a memorable night for the sport of soccer,” he said.
The Galaxy team is playing New York for the MLS crown starting Nov. 20.
Beckham remains one of the biggest players today; while Donovan is the US’s top attraction, owing to his scoring prowess; and Keane, Ireland’s main man.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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