MANILA, Philippines -- In their first season under new management, veteran midfielder Stephan Schröck is confident that United City FC can maintain the winning tradition that they established back when they played as Ceres-Negros.
A new ownership group took over the club in July, but they maintained the core of the Ceres-Negros squad that has dominated the Philippines Football League (PFL) for the past three seasons. This included the 34-year-old Schröck, the team's skipper who will also serve as an assistant coach for their upcoming campaign.
In an appearance on "Power and Play" with former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on Saturday, Schröck said he expects United City to play at a high level, even though they are coming from a long layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Given the fact that we maintained the core of Ceres into UCFC is very, very helpful," said the Fil-German standout.
"We know that for five years, the team has a winning tradition," he added. "The players know each other, know the system, know what is asked for them. That helps the young guns to integrate themselves a little bit easier."
Schröck spent most of the past few months in Germany, where he trained with a fifth division club to keep himself in shape. He arrived in the country last October 4 and has been working with United City for the past two weeks.
"The past three weeks, two weeks since I'm here, they're learning and taking major steps every day. Very happy and very proud to see them," he said of the squad.
The fourth season of the PFL will start on October 25, with all games to be held at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite. It will be a compressed tournament, with the six clubs to play five matches.
United City opens their campaign against the newly-formed Maharlika Manila FC at 8 p.m.
Aside from his confidence in his own team, Schröck is also expecting a good showing from the entire league as a whole.
"I'm confident it will be a very, very good event, a very good tournament," he said. "We are all grateful, we are all eager for the restart."
"This is our life, this is what we are, this is what we live, drink, eat every day. So we are very grateful to what the PFF and everybody involved had pulled off in the last few weeks to make this tournament happen for us," he added.