Wednesday, May 11, 2011
FALLS CHURCH, VA. LAD JOINS AZKALS
DC United Academy midfielder Jose “OJ” Porteria will be playing for the “Azkals”, the Philippine national soccer team.
OJ is the 16-year-old son of Manila Mail columnist and realtor Jocelyn Porteria and Elmer Lomat. He is a member of the DC United Academy, the 2nd team of the national capital’s premier soccer club.
Azkals team captain Aly Borromeo and regular Anton del Rosario held try-outs last month in Daly City, CA. for possible reinforcements and spotted Porteria and fellow Fil-Am James Rochilitz.
The Azkals are fighting for a slot in the Asian Football Confederation Championship after beating regional powerhouse Vietnam in the AFF Suzuki Cup and winning a qualifying match against Bangladesh. Their next international match pits them against Sri Lanka in June.
Another prize in their sights is the coming Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Indonesia later this year. The Azkals are building an under-23 squad that could finally net the country’s first soccer gold in the biennial event.
Azkals coach Michael Weiss also scouted players with Filipino roots at the Nagold Blitz Football Tournament in Germany. He spotted at least three players who’ll be invited to join the Azkals camp.
Porteria is a junior at Falls Church High School where he is the captain of the school’s Jaguars soccer team. “OJ is a very entertaining player. It seems almost from the time he could walk he has been in love with the soccer ball,” Team America coach Larry Dunn described his ward. Porteria also plays for Team America.
“He never stops running,” said DC United coach Roberto DaSilva. “He will intimidate the defender by pressuring the ball at all cost. I can see him scoring many goals,” he added.
OJ has some international experience as well. DC United Academy represented the under-16 US team at the 2010 Future Champions Tournament in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.