By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
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.
Apart from signing players, United City also recently unveiled its new crest, sourced from a contest it conducted.