NBA
Pinay booter to play in English Premier League
- Bill Velasco () - September 15, 2006 - 12:00am
After years of seeking greener pastures, a Filipina midfielder finds herself suiting up for the distaff version of the most popular league in the world.

Twenty-eight-year-old Andrea "Friday" Camaclang has officially been accepted by the Brighton and Hove Albion Seagulls of the Women’s Premier League.

Camaclang, who played for years on the Philippine women’s team since 1996, found a unique opportunity to try out for her dream league after years of playing college and semi-pro soccer in the United States.

"I was back here when my sister’s sister-in-law was visiting from England," Camaclang told The Star in an exclusive interview. "She invited me to visit them in Brighton, which is like the San Francisco of England."

Once there, Camaclang was awed with the mania surrounding football.

"I was like a kid in a toy store. I had worshipped the league and David Beckham since I was small," the SEA Games veteran explained. "I saw all the stores and memorabilia, even their home stadium. All the things I wished we had here in the Philippines."

Visiting the Seagulls souvenir store — an hour and a half drive out of London — she discovered that the team was in the final stages of trials. She hurriedly attended.

"It felt great, even though I was tired," she recalled. "I would make a pass, and they would be there. Even though I was the smallest person there, I played well."

On August 16, Camaclang received a letter from Brighton and Hove Albion team manager Nici Rice, notifying her that she was being accepted for the Seagulls for the 2006-2007 season. She already played a few tune-up matches with the Seagulls while waiting for her papers. She returns to England Sept. 26.

"I’m just trying to find some more sponsors and finish my papers," Camaclang said. "The women’s league is not as rich as the men’s league. But I’m really excited. Our team management is willing to let me train as a coach, as well, so I can help raise the level of play here at home."

Camaclang’s long-term goal is to coach and manage a men’s or women’s team and open doors for other Filipino footballers to make it to the English Premier League.

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION SEAGULLS OF THE WOMEN BUT I CAMACLANG DAVID BECKHAM ENGLAND SEPT ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE LEAGUE NICI RICE ON AUGUST
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