Katrina Guillou always had something special about her ever since she debuted for the Philippine Women’s National Team during the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Whether she plays in midfield or as a forward, the Washington DC native always brings something to the table in the final third.
Without a doubt, Guillou was one of the standout Filipinas on the pitch as she and her teammates dismantled the Thailand War Elephants 3-0 to annex the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship crown in front of over 8,000 fans in the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“I’m honestly at a loss for words,” said the 5-foot-2 attacking midfielder who plays for Piteå IF. “Just how well we started the game and then the grit to keep on going for another goal in the second half and to have all these fans here.
“It’s a dream come true, winning gold and everything, I can’t really put it into any more words than that.”
Guillou was a menace against the Thais throughout her stay on the pitch. She successfully fished for fouls and provided key passes to her comrades.
Her biggest contribution, though, came in the 21st minute of the match as she scored the Philippines’ second goal of the game, which set the country on its way to victory.
“I mean, going into AFC, we had a goal, we set it, qualified for the World Cup, and then the team did a great job in SEA Games winning a bronze medal and then now to bring it home and win a gold in front of our home crowd,” she said.
“It’s amazing. All the support that we’ve had throughout the eight months we couldn’t do it without everyone else.”
The past 12 years have seen football grow considerably in the country. While the Philippines still has a long way to go before it can compete against top nations consistently, no one can argue about the progress made so far.
Rizal Memorial was packed for the first time in years. Thousands of supporters inside the venue and watching through various streaming pages witnessed something very special.
“It shows how much heart we have and the dedication from all the fans to come out in the rain. It just shows how much this country supports our team and without them we wouldn’t be where we are right now today,” said Guillou.
This win will live long in the memory. It was the Philippines’ first-ever win in any AFF tournament.
As Filipino national team players tend to say: play to inspire. Guillou and the rest of the Filipinas might just have inspired future generations to leave their own marks on Philippine football.
“I mean just keep working on it and hey I’m 28 and this is my first gold medal so you know what anything is possible if you keep working hard.”