A key figure in the renaissance of football in the Philippines has called time on his storied career.
Phil Younghusband, one of the most important personalities in the history of the Philippine Men’s National Football Team, anouned that he has chosen to end his career as a professional football player today in a social media post.
“Hanging up my boots!
“Thank you to my bosses, my coaches, teammates, competitors and all the supporters who have been part of my journey. See you all soon in a new adventure,” announced the 32-year-old in his Instagram account.
Younghusband’s brief message caps off a journey that began in 1997, when he signed for Chelsea FC in England as a youth player. Fast-forward eight years, he and his brother, James, started their stint wearing the Azkals jersey in the 2005 SEA Games, then hosted by the Philippines.
He was a member of the national team that reached the semi-finals of 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. The highlight then was a 2-0 win over Vietnam, dubbed the ‘Miracle in Hanoi’. There, he was one of the goalscorers alongside midfielder Chris Greatwich.
In his run with the national team, the Filipino-English star scored 52 goals in 108 caps for the country. The most important goal — his 50th international strike — came on the evening of March 27, 2018, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. Younghusband converted a penalty in a 2-1 victory over Tajikistan to send the Philippines to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE — its first-ever entry in the continent’s biggest competition.
Younghusband’s final international goal came against Timor Leste, a 3-2 win for the Azkals, at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the 2018 AFF Championship.
In terms of his club career, he represented Smart San Beda FC, with whom he won the 2011 PFF National Men’s Club Championship; and Meralco Manila, with whom he took home the 2014–15 PFF–Smart National Club Championship and 2013 UFL Cup. The final stop in his career was a stint with Davao Aguilas.
Younghusband is not the first, nor will he be the last player who will wear the Azkals shirt. Still, only few can have as big as an impact as him in Philippine football.