Dreams do come true.
In a press conference at the Manila Ballroom in the Makati Shangri-La earlier this afternoon, it is now official that the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer will be coming to the Philippines to play against the Philippine Senior Men's National Football Team.
Los Angeles Galaxy are composed of the likes of former Manchester United and Real Madrid player David Beckham, United States skipper Landon Donovan and Ireland great Robbie Keane.
Thomas Payne, the President of Business Operations of the LA Galaxy, made it official that the newly minted winners of the Supporters Shield will be engaged in a friendly on December 3, 2011 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium with the kickoff time slated at 7:30pm. This will be the second leg of their three-country Australasian Tour this offseason, with the final leg being in Melbourne, and the first leg is still to be determined. Added Payne, "It will be a memorable moment for the sport and the national team" indicating how grand this friendly will be for both sides and that the country is turning to football crazy due to the success of the Azkals in the international scene recently. This also comes at the time that LA Galaxy have qualified to the playoffs of the MLS Cup and will be facing Thierry Henry's New York Red Bulls this coming Sunday.
Aside on the friendly, LA Galaxy will also have a one-day clinic with kids from Bantay Bata on Friday, December 2, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm at the Rizal Stadium.
According to PFF President, Nonong Araneta, "This is a way to end the year with a bang" after the Azkals defeated Nepal last October 11 here in Manila with a 4-0 scoreline. He also added that the Philippine Football Federation will be fully supporting the trip of LA Galaxy here in the Philippines as this is a joint project between the two sides. Before LA Galaxy, Araneta indicated that the last team to come to the country was the Brazilian side Cruzeiro E.S. during the 1970s.
The friendly will also prove to be a form of a celebration as the friendly is scheduled close to the anniversary of the historic 2-0 win of the Philippines against Vietnam during the AFF Suzuki Cup Group Stages. Azkals team manager Dan Palami also stated that "Things are going quite fast and this event is very coincedental."
Palami has also noted that Iceland-based defender Ray Jonsson has confirmed to join the team in time for the friendly while goalkeeper Neil Etherdige and the Danish pair of Dennis Cagara and Jerry Lucena has also signalled their interest to join the team, and are also waiting for Stephan Schrock's confirmation as well.
Details on the ticket availability, prices and television broadcast will known by early November. Stay tuned to Soccer Central Philippines as information becomes available.