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Originally published by Front Page PH

The Philippines Football League (PFL) defending national champions United City Football Club (UCFC) is set to start hosting its official home matches this month at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium, demonstrating its commitment to represent Region III and to raise Central Luzon’s banner on the national football scene.

On Saturday, 22 October 2022 at 4:00 PM, UCFC is set to face the Azkals Development Team (ADT) led by former Azkals Team Captain Stephan Schröck. This match happens to be the first-ever professional football game to be held at the venue since it was built in 2019, and will truly bring excitement to soccer fans in Central Luzon.

UCFC is also scheduled to host Stallion Laguna FC on Saturday, 05 November 2022.

“To represent Central Luzon and bring football to the local community is a major step in the development of professional football in the country. Football is all about belonging, therefore our matches need to be played within the community we are representing, which is now Clark in Central Luzon. We are proud to have access to the best sports venue in the Philippines when we host our home matches and we look forward to building our community and have our fans attending live matches at this beautiful stadium,” according to Eric M. Gottschalk, UCFC President in the presence of Philippines Football Federation General Secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes and Central Luzon Football Association President Alvin Yalung during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to seal the representation.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer Aileen R. Zosa gave her warm welcome to UCFC and extended her organization’s commitment to give the best football experience to the teams playing in New Clark City and their fans.

“World-class sports facilities, safe environment, and stunning views–New Clark City can offer all of these and more. We are excited that UCFC chose New Clark City Athletics Stadium as the venue for its matches, and we hope to bring pride to players who will be coming to play here,” Zosa said.

UCFC (previously known as Ceres Negros) joined the PFL as one of the founding teams of the professional league in 2017 and has since bagged the national championships four times (2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020) as well as the Copa Paulino Alcantara twice.

During this ongoing PFL Season (running until May 2023), UCFC is competing in a quadruple round-robin format against six other clubs, with the winner qualifying for the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League Group Stage on August 2023. Coming off strong performances against main rival Kaya Iloilo FC, UCFC is the favorite to retain its league title this season. During the December – January winter break, UCFC will start setting up its Clark-based youth academy with different activities also scheduled to take place around the football stadium, before UCFC will kick off regular team appearances in early 2023 with at least 6 more PFL home games scheduled at NCC.

Certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the New Clark City Athletics Stadium has a 20,000-seating capacity with a nine-lane 400-meter track and field, and another four-lane warm-up track surrounding a natural grass pitch, suitable to host local, national and international football competitions to the highest PFF, AFC, and FIFA standards.

The complex was nominated as among the world’s best stadiums in the Stadium of the Year Awards in 2020. The following year, the facility received Highly Commended recognition from the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in the Completed Buildings – Sport Category and was also shortlisted for the Engineering Prize of the same competition.