Ceres Negros to become “United City Football Club”
MMC Sportz Asia to lead a group of private investors to manage the Club through the 2020 Philippines Football League & AFC Cup competitions
Manila, Philippines – Today’s signing of the agreement cemented the transfer of ownership of the Ceres Negros Football Company, currently the #1 ranked team in ASEA and 3x defending champion in the PFL, to a group of private investors which is managed by MMC Sportz Asia.
“We would like to thank Mr. Yanson and his team for agreeing to the transfer of the Club into our name as this allows the players to continue participating in the Philippines Football League and hopefully also in the AFC Cup for the 2020 season”, stated Eric Gottschalk, CEO of MMC Sportz Asia, who will be the point of contact.
“We will now immediately apply for the permission with the PFF to re-name the Club to “United City Football Club” and request the PFF to support our statement of intent to continue participating in the AFC Cup”, states Gottschalk.
We are proud to also announce that we have received the commitment 16 of the original 21 registered Ceres Negros players (not including James Younghusband who has retired recently from football), to play for the new Club with more details to be shared in the coming days”.
“We are also retaining almost the entire staff around General Manager Ace Bright, and it is our intent to have Coach Risto return as the Head Coach. The aim is to keep the team and staff together as much as possible, and allow them the well-deserved chance to continue to play football amid all the challenges that everyone has been facing”
It is good news that they are bringing back as many of the staff and players as possible.
A FORTNIGHT since officially taking its place in the Philippines Football League (PFL), United City Football Club is steadily taking form, busy building up its roster that will carry its banner in the four-year-old league.
Took over the spot left by three-time PFL champion Ceres-Negros FC which decided to leave the league because of the coronavirus pandemic, United City has seen it stay true to its push of keeping the core of Ceres to sustain competitiveness.
It first re-signed midfielder Stephan Schrock, who will serve as the team’s captain and assistant coach.
The team then went on to ink deals with former “Busmen,” namely, OJ Porteria, Dennis Villanueva, Spaniard Bienvenido Maranon, Sean Kane, Japanese Takashi Odawara, Tristan Robles, Arnie Pasinabo, Joshua Dutosme, Jun Badelic, Ron Bayan, Hikaru Minegishi, Angeo Marasigan, and Senagalese Robert Lopez Mendy.
Last Friday, the team announced that it also signed to a deal brothers Manny and Mike Ott, who United City sees as playing key roles as it tries to make its own mark in the PFL and other tournaments in the region.
“We are happy to announce [the signing of] Manny and Mike, [who] bring a tremendous amount of experience on the club and international level to the team and this will be instrumental in our pursuit to defend the PFL title and to progress from the AFC Cup Group stages in September in Vietnam,” said United City co-founder Eric Gottschalk.
Manny and Mike Ott were also part of the Ceres squad last year.
Mr. Gottschalk said they will still sign four more players to complete the team, which they will announce on a later date.
Former Ceres players still left unsigned by the team are goalkeeper Roland Muller, Super, Dylan Bruycker and Junior Munoz. Jeffrey Christiaens is now in Belgium while Joshua Grommen is in Australia. James Younghusband, meanwhile, has already retired.
United City said it is still negotiating with coach Risto Vidakovic for a possible return.
Trevor James Morgan joins Filipino club United City FC as head coach
Former East Bengal and Kerala Blasters coach Trevor James Morgan has joined Philippines Football League club United City FC as their new head coach.
The veteran coach will replace Serbian coach Risto Vidakovic, who recently announced his resignation from the club.
The former Hull City youth coach expressed his delight on taking up the new challenge.
He said, "I have been given a wonderful opportunity to help take an already very successful team to the next level, and I will give everything I have to help improve our team and to further establish Philippine football as a force to be reckoned within Asia.”
United City FC was formerly known as Ceres Negros FC. In July 2020 after the former owner and chairman Leo Rey Yanson stepped down and Emirati-Philippine sports marketing firm MMC Sportz Asia took over the club and renamed it as United City FC.
Morgan had enjoyed two stints with East Bengal from 2010 to 2013 and then again in 2016. During his first stint, the Red and Golds had won a total of eight trophies in three years which includes two Federation Cup titles, three Calcutta Football League (CFL) titles, one IFA Shield and one AIFF Super Cup. In his second stint, he had won just the CFL title.
Under the British manager's tutelage, East Bengal had also enjoyed a very successful run in the AFC Cup 2013 when they had reached the semifinals.
Morgan had also served at Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters as an assistant coach as well as interim head coach.
The decorated Brit-Aussie mentor won eight trophies in a span of three seasons in the Indian Super League, also leading the Indian club East Bengal into a quarterfinals appearance in the 2013 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.
Morgan also won league championships and cup trophies in his coaching stint at Sorrento Soccer Club in Western Australia from 1997 to 2001. He then guided Sengkang Punggol FC in Singapore to a runner-up finish in the 2007 Singtel League Cup.
Morgan’s last coaching stint before going to United City is with the Bhutan national football team.
The hiring of Morgan is among the string of moves done by the club’s new management, who bought the former Ceres club from the Yanson family in July. Though the Gottschalk-led management retained most of the Ceres’ players, the squad signed fresh faces like UAAP Season 82 Juniors’ Most Valuable Player Pocholo Bugas and Fil-Swiss goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus.
United City FC is looking forward to a fourth straight title in the 2020 Philippines Football League and a zonal finish in the 2020 AFC Cup. The squad will be led by football stars Stephan Schrock, OJ Porteria, Bienvenido Marañón, Robert Mendy, Takashi Odawara, and Sean Patrick Kane.
MANILA, Philippines – “Build it and they will come” is becoming quite a cliché when it comes to putting up any kind infrastructure.
Yet in the case of United City Football Club, a planned stadium is more than just a field of dreams.
It is a hint of their ambition.
The Philippines Football League’s newest club is ambitious both on the field and off. If you hear out the club’s Chief Operating Officer Eric Gottschalk, it isn’t just silverware they are after. It isn’t just competing in the Asian Champions League.
“Yes, that is what we want. A proper football club wants to achieve those because that is what will define you. But there’s more… we want to lead the way in club football in the Philippines,” he succinctly said. “To be a model on how football can be done, played, and be sustainable.”
Previous sports ventures have made Gottschalk more wizened. He strongly believes in “putting the money where the mouth is” but before while doing pre-work to ensure that a process in put in motion and like-minded partners are brought to the table so the project will take off as planned.
And the task is to get things done in the next few months in spite of the ongoing pandemic. He added that with a team and organization on ground, they are moving behind the scenes to get things done.
Gottschalk is well aware of the ambiguity of “United City” as a club’s name. He insists though, it will all be made clear as they are currently in talks for a proper home field that will not only serve as a home for the team, but also one that can also host other non-football events.
“The mission and vision of UCFC is to build a sustainable media and entertainment platform using football as its driver,” explained Gottschalk. “A sustainable football club needs to have access to its own stadium to grow the sport and a community that will support it. And it is also building a proper academy that will further grow the game. And once all is in place, we will link the name of the Club to the City where we will have our home ground”
Sharing schematics of the proposed small stadium, the plan is for it to be built by 2022 with the venue’s seating capacity initially pegged by at least 7,500 to 10,000 people. “We want to build a venue that can be properly utilized for more than just football but and caters to a realistic fan on match days while fulfilling the minimum AFC requirements and demand for multi-purpose sports venues in the Philippines, for which we will seek further feedback from the PFF and the PSC.”
Gottschalk and the UCFC stakeholders also have a mind to develop the venue to host entertainment events and other activities all year around, so the field will be in regular use.
“Our stadium will serve as an attraction and inspiration to our current and future players and fans because they will know we are serious about not only growing the sport and making dreams come through but also strengthening our position to be a force in the Asian region.”
1. Andreas Esswein - The 24-year-old Fil-German started playing for FC Astoria Walldorf Youth before joining SV Waldhof Mannheim, FC Spöck, Davao Aguilas & last signed for Global FC. We expect him to challenge for a spot in centre midfield. 2. Kieran Hayes - the 22 years old Fil Brit center forward brings speed, height, and power to our front line. A product of the Nottingham Forest youth academy system, Kieran quickly went through the ranks of the Clubs' U18 and U23 teams before joining Truro City FC in 2020. 3. Ryan Jarvis - The 20 years old Fil-Brit was born in Hong Kong and played as a right-back for Kitchee SC U18 & Global FC which earned him a call-up for the Azkals U23. 4. William Grierson - 23-year-old William Grierson is currently playing in Hong Kong for Pegasus FC, and at stints previously with Ateneo FC before receiving his call-up as a defender at the 2019 Merlion Cup and the Philippine U-23 team. 5. Mark Hartmann - We are excited to bring additional firepower to our front lines through the services of Azkals forward Mark Hartmann. Mark started playing for Swindon Town U18 in 2010 then Blackfield & Langley FC. He moved to PH in 2011 and played for various clubs like Loyola SC & Manila Nomads SC & Global FC. In 2016, he transferred to Singapore to play for Geylang International and moved to Malaysia to play for Sarawak FA & Penang FC. He then moved to Thailand to play for Ubon United, Ratchaburi Mitl Phol FC, Suphanburi FC & Nakhonratchasima Mazda FC. Mark also featured for the previous Ceres- Negros team before moving on to Malaysia with engagements with Petaling Jaya City FC and UiTM FC. We are excited about the experience Mark brings to the team which will be a great benefit to our younger players. 6. Kenry Balobo - UCFC is proud to announce the local transfer of goalkeeper Kenry Balobo, 22 from Mendiola FC. We are proud to bring another promising local player to the Club & hope he'll develop from being a former U23 Azkals player into a National team goalkeeper contender. 7. Jonny Campbell (USA) - 29-year-old Center Back born in Johnson City, Tennessee, started his youth career at East Tennessee Soccer Federation with FC Alliance before playing NCAA-I college soccer for East Tennessee State University. His pro debut came in 2014 with the Philadelphia Fury before he pursued his career in Asia playing for Chachoengsao FC and Phnom Penh Crown in 2018. In 2020, Johnny impressed in his matches against Ceres Negros in the AFC Cup which leads to our interest in bringing him to our Club. 8. Omid Nazari - Omid, the older of the two football-playing siblings, was born in Sweden and started his youth career in Malmö FF, Ängelholms FF & FC Rosengård. He found his way to Asia in 2016 where he signed with Global FC, Melaka United in Malaysia, and Ceres Negros FC before moving to Persib Bandung in Indonesia in 2019. We welcome Omid back to the Philippines where he will enforce our strength in midfield for the AFC competitions. 9. Amin Nazari - 27-year old Midfielder, Amin has also joined UCFC. The Swedish-born Filipino began playing football in 1998 at the age of 5 at Malmö FF and played for that club until he signed in 2013 for Assyriska FF. His recent carreer moves included playing for Fredrikstad Fotballklubb, Falkenbergs FF, and IFK Mariehamn. In 2018, he was finally called up to play for the Philippine Azkals before he continued his club career with Ratchaburi Mitr Phol (Thailand) & Kedah Darul Aman FC (Malaysia). 10. Curt Dizon - The 27-year-old Fil-Brit Curt was born in London and started his youth career with Magix FC and the U-16 at Crystal Palace FC. In 2013, he played for Gimnástica Segoviana CF (Spain) before he was called up for the Azkals in 2014. Curt is also known for being the first-ever goal scorer of the newly inaugurated Philippines Football League in 2017 when he played for FC Meralco Manila before transferring to Global FC and Ceres-Negros. In 2019, Curt moved to Thailand to play for Chonburi FC and Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC and is now returning to the Philippines to feature on the 2021 UCFC squad. 11. Justin Baas - The 21-year-old Fil-Dutch Justin transfers to us as a centre back from Ratchaburi Mitr Phol in Thailand. Raised and born in the Netherlands, he started his career at Always Forward, Volendam & Alkmaar Zaanstreek before he made his pro debut at Jong AZ. Justin is another tremendous young talent who has played on the Philippines 2019 SEA Games team and the Azkals 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers 12. Adam Reed - 29 y/o Fil Brit started his career at Sunderland and had loan spells with Brentford, Bradford City, Portsmouth York City and later became a regular in the Philippines Football League with stints at Kaya and Davao Aguilas as well as in Malaysia and Thailand. He can play in central midfield as well as on the right back in defense 13. Da-hwon Jung 33 y.o. Korean wingback who has played his entire career in Korea at various levels including K1 before joining UCFC
Many of the above players are Fil Europeans and will join holdovers Stephan Schrock, Mike Ott and Bienvenido Maranon(who is close to becoming a Filipino citizen) on a squad full of European trained Filipinos that is primed to compete in the AFC Champion's League this year.
It will also be a great show window for many of them to show what they can do as potential members of the Philippine national football team to the national team coach Scott Cooper.
The other players who have put pen to paper for extensions with United City include Tristan Robles, Miggy Clarino, Pocholo Bugas, Sean Kane, Angelo Marasigan, Jordan Jarvis, Pika Minegishi, Arnie Pasinabo, and Jun Badelic. Anthony Pinthus was earlier announced to have been signed permanently by the club from the Azkals Development Team.
United City FC have extended the contract of captain Stephan Schröck for another three years, a move which boosts the club's confidence ahead of their 2021 AFC Champions League group stage debut.
"Every team needs leadership and a strong captain and UCFC is proud to have one of the finest in the world of football on its roster for at least the next 3 seasons," said United City FC in a statement on social media.
The 34-year-old midfielder led his side to consecutive Philippines Football League titles from 2017 to 2020 and his performances saw him receive the Golden Ball award the past two seasons.
Schröck began his professional career in Germany in 2004 and returned to the Philippines in 2016 after being loaned to Ceres Negros from Greuther Fürth.
Quickly establishing himself, Schröck decided to stay with Ceres Negros as they dominated the local scene and they will be looking to do the same since being renamed United City FC last year.
Schröck has been a mainstay in the Philippines national team since 2011 and played a pivotal role in the Southeast Asian side's first-ever appearance in the AFC Asian Cup, with the team earning plaudits for their performance in UAE 2019.
With the 2021 AFC Champions League expanded to 40 teams, United City FC will appear in the group stage for the first time with the Philippines champions having Japan's Kawasaki Frontale, Beijing FC of China PR and a playoff winner for company in Group I.
United City Football Club · Welcome Jai Emile Mau'u Ingham to UCFC!
New Zealand international and Brisbane Roar star-winger is our final addition to our AFC and PFL 2021 roster.
Jai Ingham, 27, was born in Australia and has played for the A-League and the National Premier League.
He started his career with Olympic FC in 2013 before he joined Brisbane Roar’s youth team. His professional senior debut came in 2014, before moves to Hume City, Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Mariners, and Brisbane Roar.
His performances earned him call-ups for the Samoan National Team in 2016 and New Zealand in 2017.
2020 Philippines Football League champions United City FC have signed veteran coach Jason Withe to be the club’s head coach for the 2021 season.
“We are proud to announce the addition of Jason Withe, a UEFA Pro License holder, to work alongside Frank Muescan & playing-coach Stephan Schrock during the AFC Champions League group stages in June/July,” read the club’s statement on their official Facebook account.
Withe’s signing brings a wealth of experience to the reigning Philippines Football League champions ahead of the AFC Champions League group stages this June. The English coach started his playing career with West Bromwich Albion and went on to play for several clubs in Finland and in England before moving on to coaching.
As head coach, he has earned a wide grasp of the ASEAN football scene with stints in Thailand, where he won the Thai Premier League and FA Cup double with BEC Tero Sasana in 2000, Singapore, with Home United, and Indonesia, with Pestebola Merdeka.
His time in Southeast Asia also saw him serve as assistant head coach for both the Thailand and Indonesian national teams, as well as club director for Sukhothai FC, which claimed the Thai FA Cup in 2016.
Withe has already experienced coaching a team in the AFC Champions League having led Sukhothai FC in their 2017 AFC Champions League play-off campaign.
Withe is expected to lead the club to domestic and international glory alongside Frank Muescan , who returns to the club as assistant coach and team captain Stephan Schrock who will be the playing coach.
United City FC forges partnership with New Clark City Published June 14, 2021, 4:48 PM by Jonas Terrado Philippines Football League champion United City FC is set to hold its future home matches in New Clark City after the two sides agreed on an LGU partnership. The club made the announcement Monday, June 14 after UCFC president and co-founder Eric Gottschalk received an endorsement letter from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority senior vice president for corporate services group Arrey Perez. Under the agreement, the club will be renamed United Clark FC upon the conclusion of the PFL season. “This is a historic day for all of us within the organization as we are finally able to announce New Clark City as our permanent home,” Gottschalk said following months of discussions with BCDA officials led by president and CEO Vince Dizon. “This has been in the works for several months, and we would like to thank Vivencio B. Dizon, President & CEO of BCDA, and his team for their support in bringing professional football to the Province of Pampanga and New Clark City. “Our move to Pampanga has a lot to do with the already existing sports mentality within the community, especially the love for football, and since the PBA has no foothold in Clark, UCFC will be the only professional sports franchise in the province,” he added. UCFC will temporarily hold its home matches at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac until a football stadium has been completed, with plans for a friendly before the start of the PFL campaign. Also in the works is the formation of a football academy which the club hopes can start by the end of the year. “Our community work will start right away with many plans already developed. The UCFC football academy will take shape before the end of 2021, and we continue to finalize the location for our future football stadium,” said Gottschalk. “We have already identified a prime location, and we are just waiting to complete the paperwork before the plot will also be announced. In the meantime, the newly built 20,000-seater athletics stadium will serve as our home venue, with our inaugural friendly match planned for early August.” “We are very excited to move our entire operation to New Clark City slowly and to start building our local fan base. To demonstrate our full commitment to the region, we will undergo a final name change following the 2021 PFL season. We will replace ‘City’ in our crest with ‘Clark’ and from then onwards will be known only as United Clark Football Club.” United City is currently in Dubai as part of preparations for its AFC Champions League campaign which starts later this month in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
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