Meet teenage Fil-Brit Azkal Luke Woodland
Tricia Robredo on Jun 08, 2015 04:08 PM
“I’ve been watching Phil (Younghusband) for a while and how well they’re doing. It looks like a good experience and I wanted to be a part of that.”
While most of us are getting too tired and too antsy about the smoking hot weather in the Philippines, Filipino-British Luke Woodland shares that this is actually one of the things he loves most about being in the country. “When it reaches eleven degrees there, you have to be in your jumper and your jeans, and I don’t really like that. So it’s nice to come out here and have a change in climate. It can be a bit hot sometimes but I’m getting used to it!”
Once a central midfielder for the English club Bolton Wanderers, Luke found his way to the Philippines to join the Azkals in the FIFA World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers on June 11th. The country isn’t all that foreign to him, as his mother is a Filipina and a native of the province of Camarines Norte. But he really grew up in chilly England and built his football career there. He started at the very young age of eight, got a scholarship for playing at fifteen, and landed a professional contract at seventeen. He’s also been with their national team in his mid-teens. It’s no surprise that he caught the attention of our very own football team.
The desire to have Luke Woodland play for the Philippines was mutual – the Azkals expressed their interest and so did he. “I’ve been watching Phil (Younghusband) for a while and how well they’re doing. It looks like a good experience and I wanted to be a part of that.” He was very open to talks with the team’s English representative and expressed little hesitation while being pursued. “So when they came over to watch me and my games, and invited me to come join them, I got my passport and left excitedly.”
Now that’s quite a bold move, don’t you think? Especially for a 19 year old. When he first came in, Luke didn’t know that he was going to be the youngest. But the comments he’s been getting for being so doesn’t really bother him. “We’re a team and if you’re good enough to play, you’re young enough to play. As long as you have a strong squad, that’s all that really matters.”
Luke was taken aback when asked what he would probably be doing if it weren’t football. He says this sport has been his life so for him, there is really no answer to that question. But despite having accomplished so much already, he says that this is only the start. “I’m striving to play the game for a long time like Rob (Gier). He’s been with the team for a long time and I want to be that one day.” Asked what he’s most looking forward to as a member of the Azkals, like his mates Phil and Rob, he says that it’s most definitely playing more and more games. What inspires him to keep grinding is the dream of having the most number of caps one day. But of course the more immediate goal right now is to bring the Philippines to the World Cup and show everyone what we’re all about.