CAGAYAN DE ORO City — Stallions FC team owner and coach Ernie Nierras today confirmed that they have signed Australia based Filipino-Dutch defender Josh Grommen in preparation for the United Football League (UFL) season next year.
“We have signed him recently,’’ said Nierras who is also the main benefactor and coach of the Philippine women’s football team, the Malditas.
He added that he signed the Filipino-Dutch defender because he is athletic and has good football knowledge. “He has however to play the Stallions way which requires a high work rate for players,’’ he said.
The former Meralco standout, Grommen is also thankful for Stallions and Nierras for giving him a one year contract. “It was my own decision to join Stallions as I have heard a lot of good things about them. They can compete against the top teams in the league. I expect great things for myself and the club this season as I believe that the team is strong,’’ he said.
He is also excited to work with Nierras. “I have not met him but we talked on Skype. I really like his vision for young players and the development of football in the Philippines. I also heard a lot of great things about him, the club and the quality of coaching,’’ he added
He is also hopeful that his signing for the Stallions will give him an opportunity to get spotted by Azkals coach Thomas Dolley and give him a chance of playing for the Azkals.
Josh is one of the young defenders who could break into the Azkals in a short time. He is tall and athletic and has good ball vision. He can partner with Amani Aguinaldo at the central defense to replace the current aging and ailing defenders.
The 19-year-old son of Dutchman Rudy Grommen and Filipina Alma Bulan has played for the Philippine U23 Philippine squad in Bangkok last March in the AFC U-23 Championship qualifying tournament.
He was supposed to play for the Philippine team in the Singapore Southeast Asian Games last June but was cut before the tournament started. In two years time he will be very ripe for the next SEGames.
He signed for the Loyola Meralco Sparks last year in the UFL but had to pay out his contract after leaving the club in the middle of the season. He left because his boyhood club the Brisbane Roar offered him a contract in Australia.
Now, he is back in the UFL and is expected to dominate the Stallions’ defense with the come backing Simone Rota.
The UFL will start their 2016 season at the end of January according to league manager Rely San Agustin.
Ten teams will compete in the the 1st division while five have already confirmed their entry in the second division.
Aside from the Stallions, other clubs in the 1st division are Ceres La Salle FC, Global FC, Green Archers United FC, JP Voltes FC, Kaya FC, Laos FC, Loyola FC, Manila Jeepney FC, and Pachanga Diliman FC.
So far only five teams have signed up for the second division. They are Aguila FC, Forza FC, Mendiola FC, Pasargad FC, and Sigla FC (formerly Team Socceroo).
The armed forces teams, Army, Navy and Airforce still have to confirm their participations in the second division. They used to be superpowers in the local leagues but have been struggling with the UFL the past years.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 25, 2015.