Originally published by BusinessWorld
IN nearly a decade of parading his wares in the country, football star OJ Porteria is now looking for other opportunities and destinations to showcase his skills, deciding to leave the newly minted Philippines Football League (PFL) champion United City Football Club (UCFC).
In an announcement made on Twitter on Monday night, Mr. Porteria said he was leaving the country for now and beginning a new chapter in his football career.
“After nine years playing in the Philippines, it’s time to say goodbye for now. Thank you for all your love and support throughout the years. As one chapter in my career closes, another one opens and I can’t wait for the new challenge. Maraming salamat po!” Tweeted the 26-year-old Filipino-American winger.
In the last decade, Mr. Porteria has been a steady fixture in the local club football scene as well as in the national team.
He was part of Kaya FC from 2012 to 2016 which made waves in the United Football League, including winning the UFL Cup in 2015. While with the team, he scored 36 goals in 55 appearances.
In 2017, he moved to Ceres-Negros FC where he continued to make his presence felt and won more titles—three PFL titles and one Copa Paulino Alcantara.
In the just-concluded PFL season, Mr. Porteria won another PFL title with UCFC (which took over from Ceres) where he was joint fourth place in scoring with four goals in five matches. As part of the Philippine Azkals since 2012, he has had 22 appearances.
While it was saddened by the departure of Mr. Porteria, UCFC said it fully supports the decision of one its key players and wished him all the best in his new journey.
“Off to new challenges. On behalf of UCFC, we would like to thank OJ for his tremendous efforts and commitment to the club. We wish him well with his new [journey],” said UCFC in a Facebook post.
“We hope that good memories about your time with us remain beyond just scored goals and lifted trophies. Be safe and continue to be an ambassador for Philippine football. Bon voyage, OJ!” it added.
Mr. Porteria did not mention where he was going but reports have it that he is bound for Thailand. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo