MANILA, Philippines -- United City FC checked off one item on its to-do list after signing star midfielder Stephan Schröck to a new deal.
This comes after a new group took over the management and ownership of Ceres-Negros FC and renamed it to United City FC.
In its social media accounts, the group welcomed Schröck's signing, saying that the Filipino-German standout rejected offers from overseas to remain with the team.
"The signing cemented a key cornerstone in the preparations of the new club and sets the signal that the team is serious about competing for the title in the Philippines Football League," the team said in a statement.
Eric Gottschalk, the co-founder of United City FC, said Schröck's decision to "remain loyal to the Philippine football community" meant a lot not just to the club, but to Filipino football fans as well.
"He is the captain and the leader of the team and that is what is needed especially since we are trying to establish our new identity on and off the field," Gottschalk said.
"It would have been a big loss for Philippines football if the captain would leave the PFL to compete elsewhere. His commitment to the local league shows his seriousness of trying to make a difference but also his trust in our vision for the Club," he added.
The 33-year-old Schröck has been a major factor in the success of Ceres-Negros both in the local leagues and AFC competitions, while also being one of the most crucial members of the Philippine Azkals.
According to Gottschalk, Schröck wants not just to win more titles with United City FC, but also to prepare for a second career once he hangs up his studs. In line with this, they named Schröck a playing-assistant/coach and trainer for the 2020 PFL season.
"(This is) a first step to fulfill his ambition to become a fully certified football coach in the coming years," Gottschalk said.
The team will announce its full squad this week, with Gottschalk stressing that they want to retain the key local talents of the club.
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