Most clubs have struggled to recover their forms in the post-pandemic tournaments but not it seems Sheba FC’s girls’ team. The squad managed by John Soon has been on a tear since restrictions were lifted late last year, winning seven titles and finishing second four times and third place once in various 17-Under and women’s open tournaments all over the Visayas.
In almost every tournament this gifted team has joined this year, I’d get a message from my friend John Soon, the manager/financier, that they’ve won this or that crown, an impressive achievement considering a lot of players had difficulties adjusting to competition post-pandemic. Some, I’ve heard, quit sport all together.
John even traveled to Singapore with a team that picked his gifted daughter Jelena a couple of weeks ago.
The Under 17 members are Mish Castañares, Celina Beatrice Salazar, Jelena Loren Soon, Pia Jumamoy, Jossyrine Ruete, Jodi Marie Banzon, Nicole Versoza Tan, Gabriel Aclan, Junah Cuerpo, Destiny Empaces, Gayle Ouano and Alexa Padrique.
The women’s open members are Trizza Mae Musni, May Ann Sollano, Leah Cepeda, Laela Borromeo, Riza Mae Ugbaniel, Kyrstel Mae Longakit, KC Gonzaga, Hannah Jhane Banzon, Stephanie Soria, Catlean delos Santos, Kervy Anoba, Janna Mae Remolado, Doña Made Serrano, Ayumi Sasagawa, Monique Lapnid, Melyn Nadera and Dannah Seno.
One of the first titles the team won was in football-hotbed Bacolod, one of the first to hold festivals when the restrictions were lifted. Sheba took the 17-Under crown in late July and swept the 18-Under and women’s open titles in Sagbayan barely 14 days later. They also won the AiA 7 Women’s Open, Don Bosco Victorias Festival, CVFA President’s Cup and the Alcoy Mayor’s Futsal Cup.
Their latest triumph was a bit interesting. After winning the Girls 17 title in the Pintaflores Cup, their women’s team made the final and was caught in a 2-2 deadlock when they had to abandon the match.
The reason? The need to make the 5 p.m. ferry back to Cebu.
“We were the last passengers the boat was waiting for,” John said.
I experienced this once when a delay had me as the last passenger on a plane and naturally, some pissed-off passengers launched a sarcastic round of applause.
Well, if they did that to Sheba, it would be well deserved, considering they had two trophies with them.