Bolden says ‘only way we go is up’ for Filipinas after AFF title

Published July 18, 2022, 8:59 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Sarina Bolden is all fired up for what’s ahead of the Filipinas following their historic title run in the recent 2022 AFF Women’s Championship.

Sarina Bolden (center) leads the Filipinas’ celebration after her goal against Thailand in the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship finals Sunday, July 17, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. (MB Photo Vicoy)

Bolden, the tournament’s top scorer, felt a sense of accomplishment as someone who has been called up to play for the country when the national team was still called the Malditas.

And to be part of it and witness their hard work come to fruition is something that the Santa Clara, California native would cherish in the next years to come.

“We have a bunch of stuff in store so I think the only way we go is up,” said the 26-year-old Bolden after the Filipinas defeated the Thais, 3-0, in the finals Sunday night, July 17, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. “We just keep working and learning and growing and I’m just excited to see where we go, to be honest.

“It feels like it’s a work in progress for a really, really, really long time and y’know, when you stick with something, when you believe in it, only good can come out of it,” added the former Loyola Marymount University standout.

READ: Stajcic sees bright future for PH football after AFF crown

Bolden, who scored eight goals in the AFF Women’s Championship, also paid homage to her teammates who have been on the national team even before she was invited.

The Filipino-American forward made her name known in the Philippine football scene during the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2018.

Then 21-year-old Bolden, who was recruited by former national team coach Richard Boon in 2017, pulled off a game-winning goal as the Malditas escaped with a 2-1 victory against Jordan.

Bolden, who also suited up in other professional leagues in Taiwan, Japan, and the United States, was also the legendary striker who paved the way for the country’s first-ever berth in the World Cup.

She will always be well-remembered too as the heroine in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup who delivered the game-winning goal in the penalty shootout during their quarterfinals duel against Chinese Taipei following a 1-1 draw in regulation.

Four years later since her recruitment, Bolden became one of the team’s veterans in no time and led the Filipinas to their first title in the AFF Women’s Championship.

“Like, we worked so hard [for this]. Some girls in the team have been here even before I’ve been on the team,” said Bolden, alluding to the likes of Hali Long, Cam Rodriguez, and Inna Palacios, among others. “They have worked and dedicated their lives to this and to finally see it come to fruition is just so beautiful.

“And I’m honored to be part of herstory, history,” she added.

READ: Bolden: Playing with home crowd ‘greatest feeling’