United Football League (Philippines)

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United Football League
Ufl logo.png
Country Philippines
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 2009 (2009)
Number of teams 10 (Division 1)
11 (Division 2)
Relegation to UFL Division 2
Domestic cup(s) PFF National Men's Club Championship
United Football League Cup
League cup(s) UFL FA Cup
International cup(s) AFC President's Cup
Current champions Global
(2014, 2nd title)
Most championships Philippine Air Force
(2 titles each)
Top goalscorer Mark Hartmann (27 goals)
TV partners AksyonTV
Website UFL Philippines
2014 United Football League

The United Football League, commonly known as the UFL, is an association football league based in the National Capital Region of the Philippines, governed by the Football Alliance (FA) in partnership with United Football Clubs Association (UFCA).[1][2] It is the Philippines' primary football league. To avoid the country's rainy season, the tournament is usually played from January to June each year.[3]

The league started as semi-professional tournament in 2009.[4] Since then, it has been described as a thriving football league, organized by former football players and aficionados.[5] At present, it is organized by the Football Alliance, whose long-term goal is the continued development of football in the Philippines through a premier league.[6]

Since the UFL first started, three clubs have been crowned league champions: Philippine Air Force (2), Global (2), and Stallion (1). The current champions are Global, which won the title in the 2014 season.

Competition format[edit]

The league is composed of two divisions, both with 10 clubs playing a double round-robin format. Like most football leagues around the world, it adopts the standard point system wherein match winners receive three points and losers get none. Each club receives a point, on the other hand, if the match ends in a draw.[7] For teams that are level in points, the following tie-breakers are applied:

  1. Goal difference for the entire season
  2. Total goals scored for the entire season
  3. Head-to-head results (total points)
  4. Head-to-head goals scored
  5. Head-to-head away goals scored
  6. Total away goals scored for the entire season

Starting the 2013 UFL season, a new promotion-relegation system will be adopted by the league. The club that finishes second in Division 2 will also have a chance to be promoted via a two-legged aggregate-goal playoff against the ninth-place team in Division 1, similar to the system used in the Bundesliga.[8]

Qualification for Asian competitions[edit]

In January 2013, Global FC chairman Dan Palami posted a picture via Twitter of the letter of approval from Asian Football Confederation general secretary Dato Alex Soosay of his club's participation to the 2013 AFC President's Cup, which will be held from 2 to 12 May 2013 for the group stage.[9] The team's participation marks the first time that the UFL and the Philippines will be sending a team in the cup to compete against clubs such as Taiwan Power Company, Hilal Al-Quds, and FC Dordoi Bishkek, to name a few.[10][11] Global qualified and was chosen to represent the country after winning the league title in the 2012 UFL season.[12]

For the 2014 AFC President's Cup, instead of the UFL, the PFF–Smart National Club Championship served as the qualifiers for the Philippines' representative. Ceres, the 2013 PFF–Smart National Club Championship champions, will represent the country in the 2014 edition of the tournament.[13]

In April 2013, the ASEAN Football Federation announced the creation of the ASEAN Super League, which would be an annual international association football competition between domestic clubs sides run by the AFF that would kick off in 2015.[14]


Origins and foundation[edit]

In September 2009, with the aim of reviving the interest of Filipinos in the sport, the Football Alliance, composed of Santi Araneta, Randy Roxas, Phil Hagedorn, Javier Mantecon, Dong Longa, Mike Camahort, Monchu Garcia, and Christopher Hagedorn, discussed the possibility of creating a football league in the Philippines.[15] At the time, the Filipino Premier League, the country's top level football league governed by the Philippine Football Federation, has already been discontinued after its inaugural season. But instead of creating a whole system and competition, the United Football Clubs Association agreed to partner with the Football Alliance in operating the United Football League, which was then a semi-professional league.[16]


Since its inception, the United Football League has received corporate sponsorship. After air cargo delivery service company LBC Express Inc. committed as its principal sponsor in October 2009, the league kicked off as a premier tournament composed of several football teams around the nation.[17]

  • 2009–2011: LBC (LBC United Football League)
Local courier company LBC became the principal sponsor of the UFL in 2009

Corporate backing[edit]

The first season of the United Football League, officially named then as LBC United Football League for sponsorship reasons, was made possible with the aid of several local companies including the following:[18]

Founding members[edit]

The inaugural year of the league was held in 2010, and was originally composed of 16 local clubs. The 16 founding teams of the league were Philippine Air Force, Kaya, Union Manila, Loyola Agila, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Green Archers United, Mendiola United, Global, Manila Nomads, Mama Africa FC, United South FC, Sunken Garden United, Manila Lions, Japan, and Diliman.

Expansion year[edit]

After the end of 2011 United Football League season, AKTV Network became the new TV partner with the signing of a P150 million (~$3.4 million), 5-year deal with two live matches every week.[19] Seven new clubs also entered the league after the successful third season of United Football Cup. Agila FC, Cebu Queen City, Diliman, Forza FC, Laos FC, Pachanga and Team Socceroo are distributed in the UFL Division 2, which started on 14 January 2012.[20] Three clubs from the second division were also promoted to UFL Division 1, namely: Nomads, Pasargad, and Stallion FC.[21]

In December 2011, UFL president Randy Roxas said that they have entered into discussions with the Philippine Football Federation regarding the possibility of sending the league champions to the AFC President's Cup, a third-tier club competition that is run by the Asian Football Confederation.[22] In addition, it was also reported in 16 February 2013 that Pasargad would be the lone representative of the league and the Philippines in the 2013 AFC Futsal Club Championship qualifiers.[23]

In April 2012, the United Football League struck a deal to use the artificial pitch that will be constructed by real estate giant Megaworld Corporation at McKinley Hill in Taguig City. The field will be known as the McKinley Hill Football Field. Work on the football field is targeted to be completed by September just in time for the start of the new season in October. This will be followed by the construction of a grandstand that can accommodate 2,000 people which they aim to finish by middle of 2013.[24]

Further development[edit]

UFL president Randy Roxas announced in December 2012 the completion of the McKinley Hill football field in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. According to Roxas, the $1-million artificial pitch will be the new home of the league starting the 2013 UFL season. The field was built in partnership with Megaworld Corporation, and is said to be up to FIFA standards.[25] The first two weeks of the tournament, which includes the opening games scheduled on 5 February 2013, will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, but most of the matches of the league will be played at the newly constructed artificial pitch after Chinese New Year.[26] The league started to use the facility, dubbed Emperador Stadium, in 9 February 2013.[27] The first league game in the stadium, Dolphins United versus Cebu Queen City United, got cancelled as the latter forfeited the match. The second match slated for the same day, Philippine Air Force against Nomads FC, became the first official league game in the stadium. Nomads FC won, 1–0, against Philippine Air Force.[28]

In an effort to hold matches outside Metro Manila, United Football League marketing manager Coco Torre confirmed in 30 January 2013 that the league is discussing with its broadcast partner, AKTV, the possibility of staging a few games in the provinces.[29] UFL assistant technical director Ritchie Gannaban further explained the possibility of staging at least two provincial matches during the second round of the tournament, which could be either played at the Cebu City Sports Complex, Cebu City or at Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City.[30]

In cooperation with the Philippine Football Federation, the league directed its referees to undergo a training module to better their decision making and player management. The training was facilitated by Football Association of Singapore committee member Augustine Arlando, a former FIFA match official, and Football Association national referee tutor Dave Roberts.[31]


The regular season of the United Football League is composed of two competitions, namely: the United Football Cup, a knockout-tournament that allows clubs to participate regardless of their division, and the league, which are separate round-robin tournaments for clubs in the first division and second division.[32]

The association football season in the Philippines is from November to July, the driest months of the year. The UFL has a similar season schedule as the Philippine Basketball Association, with two competitions following one after the other: the cup competition and the league competition. The cup competition runs from November to December, while the league runs from January to July. Therefore, the two competitions in a season happen in separate calendar years:

Season Cup League

Note: The 2009 UFL Cup was created to determine the composition of teams that will be playing in the league.[33]

Past league champions[edit]

UFL Division 1[edit]

Season Champion Runners-up Third Place
2010 Philippine Air Force Kaya Union FC
2011 Philippine Air Force Global Philippine Army
2012 Global Kaya Loyola Meralco Sparks
2013 Stallion Global Loyola Meralco Sparks
2014 Global Loyola Meralco Sparks Kaya

UFL Division 2[edit]

Season Champion Runners-up Third Place
2010 Global Manila Nomads Mama Africa F.C.
2011 Manila Nomads Stallion Pasargad
2012 Pachanga Diliman FC Cebu Queen City United
2013 Team Socceroo Union Internacional Manila Forza
2014 Ceres Manila Jeepney Philippine Air Force

Current clubs by division[edit]

The following clubs will be competing in the United Football League 2015 season based on the recently concluded 2014 season:

UFL Division 1[edit]

Club Head Coach Team captain Kitmaker Shirt sponsor 2014 position
Ceres Philippines Ali Go Philippines Jason Cordova Adidas Ceres Liner Promoted
Global Scotland Leigh Manson Philippines Jason de Jong AtletA KIA 1st
Green Archers United Philippines Rodolfo Alicante Philippines Christian Pasilan LGR Athletic Globe Telecom 5th
Kaya Australia David Perkovic Philippines Alexander Borromeo LGR Athletic LBC Express, Inc. 3rd
Loyola Meralco Sparks Philippines Vincent Santos Philippines James Younghusband LGR Athletic Meralco 2nd
Manila Jeepney Philippines Kale Alvarez Philippines Mark Alvin Valeroso LGR Athletic Cord Epoxy Promoted
Pachanga Diliman Philippines Noel Marcaida Italy Davide Cortina Umbro PLDT HOME Fibr
Philippine Army Philippines Ricky Cain Philippines Roel Gener LGR Athletic Artificial Turf Sejung 7th
Stallion Philippines Ernest Nierras Philippines Ruben Doctora Jr. Mizuno Giligan's Island Bar and Grill 4th
Team Socceroo Philippines Franklin Cacacho Philippines Enzo Pinga LGR Athletic Vcargo worldwide 8th

UFL Division 2[edit]

United Football League
Division 2
Country  Philippines
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 2010 (as a semi-pro league)
Number of teams 12
Promotion to UFL Division 1
Domestic cup(s) PFF National Men's Club Championship
League cup(s) UFL Cup
Current champions Ceres (1st title)
Most championships Global
Manila Nomads
Team Socceroo
(1 title each)
Website UFL Philippines
2014 United Football League

The United Football League Division 2, often referred to as UFL Division 2, is the second-highest division overall in the football league system in the Philippines. The second division was introduced for the 2010–11 season.[2] The winner of the UFL Division 2 gets an automatic promotion to the league's first division while the second placer will go against the ninth placer of division one in a two legged playoff for a slot in the first division the next season. Manila Nomads won the first-ever UFL Division 2 title, and the club was promoted to the UFL Division 1 the following season along with season runner-up Stallion FC and third placer Pasargad.[34]

During the 2012 UFL season, Pachanga was crowned the UFL Division 2 champion. The club finished at the top of the second division, which secured the team's promotion to the UFL Division 1.[2] Freddy Gonzalez, Pachanga FC's resident striker, was awarded the golden boot of the UFL Division 2 for the 2012 season. Thus, Pachanga replaced the relegated Navy in the first division.

Further, the UFL Division 2 kicked off its first match between Dolphins United and Cebu Queen City United on February 9, 2013 at the Emperador Stadium,[35] but Cebu Queen City United did not show up in the game time.[36] On March 1, 2013, the UFL management has officially ruled out Cebu Queen City United from participating after the club apparently withdrawn when the club’s request for home games was turned down by the league.[37]

For the 2014 UFL season, relegated Philippine Air Force will be replaced by Team Socceroo, the champions of the 2013 UFL Division 2.[38][39]

Expansion year[edit]

At the start of the 2012 UFL season, the UFL Division 2 has been expanded to 12 football clubs.[2] Most of the matches for the second division were held at the Turf@BGC, a venue with an artificial football pitch located at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.[2]

For the 2014 UFL season, the Manila Nomads voluntarily stepped down from the first division to play in Division 2 due to the club's inability to comply with Division 1's foreigner cap rule. This rule dictates that there should be a minimum of six Filipino players on the pitch at all times. In addition, Manila Jeepney and Ceres made therr debut at the league's second division during the same season.[2]

Club Head Coach Team captain Kitmaker Shirt sponsor 2014 position
Agila Philippines Ramon Vicente Roxas Nigeria Olayemi Bakare LGR Athletic Blue Booters 9th
Cimarron Philippines Stephen Permanes Cameroon Eric Yosse Umbro KMC MAG Group 12th
Dolphins United Philippines Ravelo Saluria Philippines Jeremiah James Clemente Botak SiKLO Pilipinas 11th
Forza Philippines Jun Mark Saraga Philippines Allan Auman LGR Athletic Orient Freight 6th
Laos Iran Mehdi Soltani Philippines Rolly Lear LGR Athletic 5th
Manila All-Japan Japan Shinichiro Maeno Japan Yuki Tanaka LGR Athletic JK Mart 4th
Manila Nomads United States Alasdair Thomson Netherlands Randy Musters AtletA 7th
Pasargad Philippines Mike Agbayani Philippines Jay Torres LGR Athletic Relegated
Philippine Air Force Philippines Edzel Bracamonte Philippines Ian Araneta LGR Athletic 3rd
Philippine Navy Philippines Narciso Rosima Philippines Jose Alfie Caminos LGR Athletic DPY Mercantile Inc. 10th
Union Internacional Manila Philippines Dan Padernal Spain Ivan Meilan LGR Athletic Rudy Project 8th

Note: The two bottom-placed teams will be removed from the league to give way for other teams a chance to compete, although they may qualify for the 2013 UFL Cup.

Former clubs[edit]

UFL Football Alliance Cup[edit]

Main article: UFL FA Cup

The United Football League Football Alliance Cup, also known as the UFL FA Cup. In 21 June 2012, UFL officials announced that it will introduce a new tournament to its calendar around May of the 2013 United Football League season. Originally, the UFL Super Cup was supposed to feature 10 teams from the UFL Division 1 and the top six clubs from its second division.[40] A maximum of five foreign players would be allowed for each club during the inaugural tournament, and this number would be reduced to four players the succeeding years.[41]

In 22 April 2014, it was officially announced that the planned UFL Super Cup will commence after the 2013 UFL season, and will be held annually after the end of each league competition. As for its participants, the top six clubs of the first division will compete in this knockout tournament. UFL president Randy Roxas said that the Super Cup was supposed to include foreign teams competing against the league and cup champions. However, he explained that inviting foreign teams became too expensive.[42] The league champion and runner-up will receive byes to the cup's semi-finals, while the other four clubs will compete in two-legged knockout games.[43]

United Football League Cup[edit]

Main article: UFL Cup

The United Football League Cup, also known as the UFL Cup, is an association football competition in the Philippines that runs from mid-October to mid-December.[44] The cup is a single-elimination tournament where clubs from both divisions of the United Football League are eligible to compete. In addition, the competition is also open to local clubs in the country that have passed the requirements set by the Football Alliance.[45]

The UFL Cup was first held on October 2009, sanctioned by the National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA) and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).[46] The cup was formed to determine the distribution of clubs over the Divisions 1 and 2 of United Football League in its inaugural season. Clubs were divided into four groups of four, the top two finishers of each group after single round-robin elimination qualified for quarterfinals (for division one) and the bottom 2 battles for Plate Competition (for division two).

Winners and runners-up[edit]

Club Champions Years won Runners-up Years lost
Philippine Air Force
2011, 2009
Global FC
Loyola Meralco Sparks
Stallion FC
Philippine Army

Top goal scorers[edit]

Year Scorer Club Goals
2009 Philippines Yanti Barsales Philippine Air Force
2010 Sudan Izzeldin El Habbib Global FC
2011 Philippines Phil Younghusband Loyola Meralco Sparks
2012 Philippines Phil Younghusband Loyola Meralco Sparks
2013 Philippines Phil Younghusband Loyola Meralco Sparks

After defeating Loyola Meralco Sparks in the finals, Philippine Air Force were crowned the 2011 UFL Cup champions.[47] For the 2012 edition of the cup, 28 clubs would compete into four groups of five and in two stages.[48] Clubs from the UFL Division 2, along with other guest teams, would comprise the first stage of the cup. Teams from the UFL Division 1, on the other hand, would be included in the second stage. Afterwards, the top 10 clubs would move on to the knockout stage of the 2013 PFF National Men's Club Championship.


Primary venues used in the United Football League:

Manila Taguig Makati
Rizal Memorial Football Stadium Emperador Stadium University of Makati Stadium
Capacity: 12,873[49] Capacity: 2,000[50] Capacity: 4,000[51][52]
Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium.jpg Emperadorstadium.jpg University of Makati.JPG
Muntinlupa Taguig Parañaque
Alabang Country Club Turf BGC, Bonifacio Global City Nomads Field
Capacity: N/A Capacity: N/A Capacity: 3,000[50]

Most football clubs of the UFL use the 4,500 capacity Mckinley Hill Football Field as their main stadium. Manila Nomads FC's home field, dubbed "Nomads Field," is in Parañaque.

Golden boot winners[edit]

Golden ball award[edit]

The UFL Golden Ball Award is the league's equivalent for the Most Valuable Player award. The award has been given since the 2012 season after the league's expansion to two divisions. SpanishFilipino footballer Carli de Murga of Global was awarded the first Golden Ball for the first division. Freddy Gonzalez of Pachanga, on the other hand, won it the same year for the second division.[53]

Golden glove trophy[edit]

Broadcast partners[edit]

Official match ball[edit]

See also[edit]


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  5. ^ Jack Biantan (2 January 2011). "Welcome 2011". Sun Star. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  6. ^ Biantan, Jack (14 February 2011). "Biantan: Do not rush". Sun Star (Sun Star Cebu). Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
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  38. ^ "Pasargad sends Air Force to relegation after 6-0 beating". InterAksyon.com (TV5/ABC Development Corporation). June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
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External links[edit]