Filipino footballer Anton del Rosario looks to bring in new talents to the Philippines to help improve the country's football league.
Del Rosario last played for the Philippine Azkals two years ago. But the team's original member continues to have a stake in the sport at home.
His efforts include founding the 7s Football League in 2018, and owning the Manila Maharlika team, as well as developing the Palaro app to help Filipino footballers find games and leagues to take part in.
"I was able to see the Philippines, the foundation of futbol there in the past and how it is now," said Del Rosario, a San Francisco Bay Area native. "Now is a great opportunity for futbol to get much better and more people to take the opportunity and go out there.
Del Rosario, along with the Philippine Football League (PFL) and teams, will hold a scouting combine in the U.S. on December 11. The move aims to look for prospects to play professional soccer in the PFL.
Players as young as 16 years old and some in their 30s have already signed up.
"We want to be able to give kids the opportunity to showcase themselves out here and be able to provide them a route to be able to play in the Philippines," Del Rosario said.
Caught up in the World Cup Fever watching his favorite teams play, Del Rosario believes that the Philippines could produce a team for the World Cup in the future by strengthening its local clubs.
"That's why we need to bring local players there, to bring over an impact and sort of teach our local players there to get better because it raises the level of competition," he added.
Each team in the PFL is allowed to recruit four foreigners. Del Rosario emphasizes that players don’t necessarily have to be a Filipino or hold Philippine citizenship.
But he said being a dual citizen could open up more doors, and wouldn’t count against a team’s foreigner quota.