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Anicka Castañeda’s long-awaited debut boosts La Salle’s redemption bid

At long last, Anicka Castañeda finally made her debut for De La Salle University.

It was a debut to remember, as La Salle walloped Ateneo de Manila University 5-0 to open its redemption bid in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Football Tournament.

Castañeda, 24, started the match and was on the pitch until the 60th minute when Chenny Mae Danoso replaced her.

It was a discreet performance from the Early Childhood Education student. She was expected to have a more spectacular outing, considering she was one of the 23 players in Alan Stajcic’s Philippine Women’s National Football Team squad that competed in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Nevertheless, the De La Salle Zobel alumna was glad to get her debut out of the way, especially since it had been on hold for six years already.

“It feels really good. I’m grateful and happy to be back after how many years since I ended school. I’m just happy to be playing my first year back home,” she said.

“I was very nervous, but it was fun.”

M1-UAAP86-Womens-Football-DLSU-goal-4-1 Anicka Castañeda's long-awaited debut boosts La Salle's redemption bid DLSU Football News UAAP  - philippine sports newsIt is not every day that a member of a World Cup squad is currently participating in the UAAP. The Filipinas’ rise to the world stage involved UAAP alumnae like Inna Palacios, Cam Rodriguez, and Anicka’s older sister Sara.

But in Castañeda’s case, she is continuing her football career in the collegiate league after a short stint abroad with Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC in Australia.

However, the principles of football remain the same regardless of the level you are playing in: win your battles, do not lose the ball cheaply, and score goals to win.

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As a player who has experienced football on the world stage, the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship gold medalist felt that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same.

“I mean, I guess like nothing but a lot. I mean the stuff that Staj taught us, it’s not really the first time we’ve heard it. It’s just that he demanded it more, but our coaches here would tell us similar things. The girls really knew it. They just had to be reminded of some stuff,” she said.

La Salle has been one of the most dominant programs in the women’s football division in the UAAP with 11 championships — two of those championships were won when Sara, who was spotted on the team bench as a coach, was in the lineup.

Now it is Castañeda’s time to shine for the green and white, especially since it may be a case of now or never for her.

“It’s also my first and possibly last year, so I also want to win it,” she said.

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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