Kaya F.C.–Iloilo

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Kaya Iloilo crest.png
Full name Kaya Futbol Club–Iloilo
Nickname(s) The Mighty Kaya, The Lions
Short name KAY
Founded 1996; 22 years ago (1996)
Stadium Iloilo Sports Complex
Ground Capacity 7,000
Owner Santi Araneta
Head coach Noel Marcaida
League Philippines Football League
2018 2nd
Website Club website
Current season

Kaya Futbol Club–Iloilo (Tagalog pronunciation: [ˈkaja futbol klub]; Incorporated as Una Kaya Futbol Club, Inc.[1]) is a Filipino professional association football club based in Iloilo City in the Western Visayas. They play in the Philippines Football League (PFL), the national domestic league of the Philippines. They previously played at the United Football League.

Initially known as just Kaya Futbol Club, the club's name of the club comes from the Filipino word káya, which means "we can". In Old Tagalog, the word is closely defined as susi ng kapatiran (key to brotherhood). Both of these definitions provide the basis for Kaya's team spirit and vision as a club.[2] The club is owned by businessman Santiago "Santi" Araneta, the CEO of LBC Express, Inc., one of the largest courier services in the Philippines.

Kaya had their first major success in 2015, when they won the UFL Cup. They debuted in the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League as Kaya FC–Makati in 2017, representing Makati City, but later moved to Iloilo for the 2018 season.


Kaya Futbol Club traces its origins to the late 1980s and early 1990s, when men played football in a wooden basketball court at the old Makati campus of the International School Manila (ISM) in present-day Century City, Makati.[3]

In July 1996, Kaya was officially established by Chris Hagedorn, ISM football coach Bob Kovach, and former national team players Rudy del Rosario, and John-Rey “Lupoy” Bela-ong.[3] Chris Hagedorn once pointed out that the name "Kaya" is derived from the Filipino word for "can do it" or "we can". Kaya co-founder Rudy del Rosario points to the lyrics of Bob Marley's song Kaya, when asked about the origin of the club's name.[4]

The club began to join outdoor 7-a-side football tournaments playing against other teams, frequently making podium-finishes in these competitions.[5]

In the late 1990s, Kaya participated in official and more challenging 11-a-side football tournaments organized by the National Capital Region Football Association. In the early 2000s, the club played in numerous competitions like the Globe Super Cup. In 2002, the club played in the first incarnation of the United Football League.[3]

Between 2000 and 2009, Kaya defeated the Philippine Armed Forces clubs in two separate championship matches and was the champion of the old incarnation of the United Football League (UFL) on three occasions. The club was eventually recognized as one of the only club teams capable of defeating the "big three", composed of the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Navy football clubs.[5]

Before the club participated in the inaugural UFL Cup in 2009, the CEO of LBC Express Santiago Araneta began investing on the club, helping Kaya to become one of the finest clubs in the Philippines.[3]

United Football League[edit]

2010 Season[edit]

After placing in the top two of their group in the first ever UFL Cup in October 2009, Kaya was placed in the first division for the inaugural United Football League competition.

In the inaugural season of the United Football League, Kaya finished second, behind league champions Philippine Air Force. The club had a final record of 28 points (9 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses in 14 games). The runner-up finish is Kaya's best finish in the league, which was replicated by the team in the 2012 season.

2011 Season[edit]

Kaya withdrew from this season's UFL Cup for unspecified reasons. As a result, the club was fined ₱200,000 [6]

The club signed Spanish coach Juan Cutillas as the club's head coach in 2011. The club went on to finish fourth in the league competition after collecting 17 points (5 wins, 2 draws, and 5 losses in 12 games).

2012 Season[edit]

This season's UFL Cup saw the beginning of the fierce rivalry between Kaya and the Loyola Meralco Sparks. After placing top of their group with an unbeaten record, Kaya defeated Team Socceroo 2–0 in the round of sixteen. Kaya then defeated the Manila Nomads 3–0 in the quarterfinals, setting up a showdown with the Loyola Meralco Sparks in the semi-finals. Kaya lead the game 3–0, but a resilient Loyola Meralco Sparks club managed to make an exciting comeback, finishing the game at 4–5 to the Sparks. With the loss, Kaya was placed in a third-place match with Global, losing 2–1.

Before the beginning of the league competition, head coach Juan Cutillas left the club. He was replaced by Filipino coach Michael Alvarez as the interim head coach of the club.

The 2012 league competition saw one of Kaya's best finishes to date, finishing runners-up to champions Global. The two clubs finished with the same record (42 points with 13 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses in 18 games). The championship was then decided on goal-difference, with Global having a +32 GD and Kaya with +13 GD. With the runners-up finish, Kaya missed out on qualifying for the 2013 AFC President's Cup.

2013 Season[edit]

Kaya joined its first PFF National Men's Club Championship. In the round of sixteen, they defeated M'lang 5–0 in Koronadal. The club beat rivals Loyola Meralco Sparks 1–0 in the quarterfinals, before falling to eventual champions Ceres 3–1 in the semi-finals. In the third-place match, Kaya defeated Green Archers United 2–0.

In the UFL Cup, Kaya finished the group stages in second place, behind Green Archers United on goal difference. They were defeated by Global 2–1 at extra time in the quarterfinals.

Head coach Michael Alvarez stepped down as head coach in December 2012. he was replaced by Uruguayan coach Maor Rozen.[7]

Kaya finished fourth in the league competition with 31 points (8 wins, 7 draws, and 3 losses in 18 games), 15 points from champions Stallion. In the middle of the league, head coach Maor Rozen resigned after just three matches in charge.[8] The club's goalkeeping coach Melo Sabacan took over the reins as interim head coach, and was subsequently replaced by Australian coach David Perković.[9]

2014 Season[edit]

The club saw minimal success in this season's UFL Cup. Kaya finished second in their group, behind UFL Division 2 side Union Internacional Manila. They then lost to recently relegated Philippine Air Force 1–0 in the round of sixteen.

The league competition saw Kaya finish third with 46 points (14 wins, 4 draws, and 6 losses in 24 games), 3 points behind rivals Loyola Meralco Sparks and 16 points behind league champions Global. Before the season ended, head coach David Perković announced that he will not be renewing his contract with the club and that his last match will be the derby between Kaya and the Loyola Meralco Sparks.[10]

In the UFL FA Cup, the culmination competition of the season, Kaya were beaten 3–1 by Global in the finals. Thomas Taylor was the competition's top goal-scorer with five goals.

2015 Season[edit]

In the pre-season, it was announced by the club that American Adam Reekie will replace David Perković as the club's new head coach.[11]

Kaya failed to get past the group stages of the PFF National Men's Club Championship, but were able to top their group in the inaugural UFL FA League Cup. The club fell to rivals Loyola Meralco Sparks 2–1 in the quarterfinals. Louis Max Clark was named as one of the competition's top goal-scorers with 10 goals in 7 games.

The club finished fourth in the league with 31 points (10 wins, 1 draw, 6 losses in 17 games),12 points behind champions Ceres. In the middle of the league competition, head coach Adam Reekie announced his resignation.[12] In June 2015, former Kaya player Fabien Lewis was appointed by the club as interim head coach.[13]

With the eventual departure of Fabien Lewis, Kaya player Chris Greatwich became the club's interim head coach during the UFL Cup. Kaya finished the group stages at the top of the table. The club defeated the Manila Nomads 10–1 in the round of sixteen, and then defeated JP Voltes 8–0 in the quarterfinals. In their semi-final clash against Stallion, Kaya came from behind three times to put the game at 3–3 at extra time. Kaya won the game 5–4 in penalties after goalkeeper Nick O'Donnell denied Ian Araneta, bringing Kaya to its first UFL Cup finals appearance. The final was held on August 28, 2015. The game went to penalties after the game finished at 2–2 at extra time. Nick O'Donnel denied Ceres twice and Louis Clark slotted in the winning penalty to give Kaya a 4–2 win in the penalty shootout and the club's first major silverware. With the championship win, Kaya qualified for a play-off spot in the 2016 AFC Cup, the club's first international competition in history. Striker Tishan Hanley was given the golden boot for his 15 goals in the UFL Cup.[14]

2016 season[edit]

Kaya officially celebrates their 20th founding anniversary this season.

During pre-season, it was announced by the club that Kaya FC Academy Director and former Philippine Azkal and Kaya player Chris Greatwich has been officially appointed as the club's new head coach.[15]

Before the 2016 AFC Cup draw in December 2015, it was announced that Kaya would be given a direct berth to the group stages of the AFC Cup instead of having to play in a play-off match. This was the result of FIFA's suspension of Indonesia's football association, effectively freeing up slots in the group stages.

On February 23, 2016, Kaya played their maiden AFC Cup game against Hong Kong Premier League side Kitchee in Hong Kong, where they lost 1–0.[16] On March 8, 2016, Kaya earned their first three points in an international competition with their dramatic 1–0 win against the Maldives' New Radiant in Manila. The win marks many milestones in the club's 20-year history, including their first points, first win, and first home game in an international competition.[17] A week after their famous victory, Kaya defeated S.League side Balestier Khalsa 1–0 at home. The win marks the first time a Filipino football club won more than once in the group stages of the AFC Cup.[18] On April 12, 2016, Kaya once again defeated Balestier Khalsa 3–0 in Singapore. The historical result marks the club's first ever win away from home and also first points earned away from home in an international competition.[19]

Philippines Football League[edit]

The University of Makati Stadium, the home of Kaya during the inaugural 2017 season.

After the announcement of the establishment of Philippines Football League as the country's new top-tier league, in November 2016, Kaya was confirmed to be one of the first teams to compete in the inaugural season of the league.[20] Kaya adopted the name "Kaya FC-Makati and set their home ground to University of Makati Stadium with 4,000 seating capacity.[21] For the inaugural season, Kaya finished third in the regular season and lost to Ceres-Negros in the semifinal of the Final series.[22]

In January 2018, it was reported that Kaya that plans to move its home venue to the Iloilo Sports Complex in La Paz, Iloilo City.[22] On 6 February 2018, Kaya transferred from Makati to Iloilo with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between club officials and the provincial government of Iloilo.[23][24] The team changed their name to Kaya FC–Iloilo.[25]

Crest and colors[edit]

Crest from 1996 until 2017
Crest as Kaya F.C.–Makati in 2017

The colors of Kaya's crest (red, green, yellow and black) are mainly based on the pan-African colors that are associated with rastafarianism. This is due to the heavy influence of Reggae on the club's founding members' lives.[26] The 31 stars on the crest is a tribute to club co-founder John-Rey "Lupoy" Bela-ong, with each star signifying every year of his life. Bela-ong died at the age of 31 in 2002, when he was stabbed to death while exiting a bus in Quezon City. At that time, he was carrying the material for Kaya's team uniforms, which were then stolen by his killers.[3]

In 2017, Kaya launched their new logos, with the only major changes being the words "Makati City" instead of the club's founding year put on the bottom of the crest. The team's founding year, 1996, has instead been put inside the ball of the crest, also at the bottom. When the club transferred to Iloilo City, the logo had a minor revision with the text "Makati City" changed to "Iloilo", the new home province of the club.[27]

Support and rivalries[edit]

The Ultras Kaya, also known as the Sons of Mighty Kaya, is a defunct official supporters group of Kaya and were the pioneers of ultras culture in the Philippine football scene. The group was established in 2011 when one of the members of the Don Bosco United Futsal Club Supporters or the Futsaldiers teamed up with two members of the Kaholeros (one of the Philippine Azkals' supporters group).[28] The group was recognized by the club as its official supporters group soon after. The Ultras Kaya cheers in the upper-left side of the Rizal Memorial Stadium's grandstand, a section they call "The Terraces". Philippine club football fans and players alike have referred to the Ultras Kaya as the best supporters group in the country. Since the death of the original group, other ultras groups are growing in Ilo-ilo.

When Kaya was still based in Manila, the club had rivalries with a number of teams in the UFL. In 2010, they had a fierce rivalry with Union Internacional Manila, but since the club decided to be voluntarily relegated to the UFL Division 2, this rivalry has mostly died out. Since 2011, Kaya held a rivalry with National Capital Region neighbors Loyola Meralco Sparks, with Kaya hailing from the city of Makati in the south of Metro Manila and Loyola Meralco Sparks being based in Quezon City in the north. The rivalry began in the 2011 UFL Cup semi-finals clash between the two teams, in which Kaya went up to lead the game by 3–0 only to lose by 4–5 after an enthralling comeback from the Sparks. Since then, the UFL has had some of its highest attendance numbers whenever there are match-ups between the two teams, making the rivalry the most famous derby in Philippine club football.[29]

This rivalry continued into the first season of the newly founded Philippine Football League. However, after the first season of the PFL concluded, Meralco then decided to pull out of the league, effectively ending the rivalry between the two clubs.


First team squad[edit]

As of 11 August 2018[30]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Philippines GK Ref Cuaresma
3 Philippines DF Chy Villasenor
4 Japan DF Masanari Omura (vice-captain)
5 Philippines DF Carmelo Tacusalme
6 Philippines DF Jalsor Soriano
7 Philippines FW Jovin Bedic (captain)
8 Philippines MF Anton Ugarte
9 Philippines MF Kenshiro Daniels
10 Philippines MF Miguel Tanton
12 Philippines MF Jayson Panhay
13 Philippines FW Janrick Soriano
14 Philippines DF Mike Menzi
16 Ghana DF Alfred Osei
17 Senegal FW Robert Lopez Mendy
18 Philippines DF Dean Ebarle
19 Philippines FW Eric Giganto
20 Cameroon DF Serge Kaole
21 Philippines MF Arnel Amita
22 Philippines GK Zach Banzon
23 Philippines DF Audie Menzi
24 Philippines MF Marwin Angeles
25 Philippines GK Ace Villanueva
27 Philippines DF Shirmar Felongco
28 Ghana FW Jordan Mintah
29 Philippines FW Connor Tacagni

Foreign players[edit]

In the Philippines Football League, there can be at least four non-Filipino nationals in a team as long as they are registered. Foreign players who have acquired permanent residency can be registered as locals.

Former players[edit]

Continental record[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Score Group Stage
Home Away Aggregate
2016 AFC Cup Group Stage
(Group F)
Hong Kong Kitchee 0–1 0–1 2nd
Maldives New Radiant 1–0 0–0
Singapore Balestier Khalsa 1–0 3–0
Round of 16 Malaysia Johor Darul Ta'zim 2–7

AFC Club Ranking[edit]

As of 01 December 2017.[31]
Current Rank Country Team
111 Indonesia Arema FC
112 Hong Kong Eastern AA
113 Philippines Kaya F.C.-Iloilo
114 Oman Fanja SC
115 Myanmar Nay Pyi Taw F.C.





Coaching staff[edit]

As of 11 February 2017[32]
Position Name Nationality
Team Manager Chris Greatwich  Philippines
General Manager Paul Tolentino  Philippines
Head Coach Noel Marcaida  Philippines
Joel Villarino[note 1]  Philippines
Assistant coach Steve Nicholls  England[note 2]
Thomas Pfyl   Switzerland
Goalkeeping coach Melo Sabacan  Philippines
Physical therapist Katherine Soriano  Philippines
Physiotherapist Marvin Pangilinan  Philippines

Head coaches[edit]

Dates Name
1996–2002 United States Robert Kovach
2011–2012 Spain Juan Cutillas
2012 Philippines Michael Alvarez
2012–2013 Uruguay Maor Rozen
2013 Philippines Melo Sabacan
2013–2014 Australia David Perković
2014–2015 United States Adam Reekie
2015 Trinidad and Tobago Fabien Larry Lewis
2015–2017 Philippines Chris Greatwich
2016 (AFC Cup) Philippines Joel Villarino [note 1]
2017- Philippines Noel Marcaida


Period Kit Manufacturer Shirt Partner[35]
2010–11 Rudy Project Cignal
2011–2013 Mizuno LBC Express1
Belo Medical Group, Delimondo2
2013–present LGR Athletics LBC Express, Yellow Cab 1
Belo Medical Group, Gatorade, Tokyo-Tokyo2
  • 1 Major shirt sponsor (names located at the front of the shirt).
  • 2 Secondary sponsor (names mostly located at the back of the shirt).


Season Division Teams League Position PFL Cup PFF NMCC UFL Cup FA Cup League Cup AFC Cup
2009 Semifinal
2010 1 8 2nd Withdrew
2011 1 7 4th 4th Place
2012 1 10 3rd Quarterfinal
2013 1 10 4th 3rd Place Round of 16
2014 1 9 3rd Runner-up Quarterfinal
2015 1 10 4th Group Stage Champions
2016 1 12 5th 3rd Place Round of 16
2017 1 8 3rd (Regular Season)
4th (Final Series)
2018 1 6 2nd Group Stage
Updated as of 23 May 2018


  1. ^ a b Villarino served as head coach of Kaya during the 2016 AFC Cup, where it is required that the head coach of a club to have a "A" license. Chris Greatwich, the club's regular head coach has no such credentials by the time of the competition.[34]
  2. ^ The Players & Staff page lists Nicholls' nationality as "British", but there is no "British" nationality in FIFA since the United Kingdom is represented by its constituent countries, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Nicholls' is from England according to the Kaya F.C. Academy.[33]


  1. ^ "Iloilo inks MOA with Kaya-FC". Local Government of the Province of Iloilo. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  2. ^ "Club". kayafc.com. Kaya Futbol Club. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Guerrero, Bob (7 March 2016). "AFC Cup preview: Kaya FC's special anniversary moment". Rappler. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  4. ^ Olivares, Rick (7 September 2012). "The Bleachers King: Kaya's reunion match". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  5. ^ a b "History". Kaya Futbol Club. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Filipino Football: UFL - Kaya Slapped with Heavy Fine". Filipinofootball.blogspot.com. 2010-11-22. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  9. ^ Olivares, Rick (2014-02-26). "David Perkovic: Year One | Sports, News, The Philippine Star". Philstar.com. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  11. ^ "Adam Reekie named new Kaya head coach | Kaya Futbol Club". Kayafc.com. 2014-08-31. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  12. ^ March 31, 2015 (2015-03-31). "Statement from Adam Reekie | Kaya Futbol Club". Kayafc.com. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  13. ^ June 5, 2015 (2015-06-05). "Fabien Lewis appointed new Kaya head coach | Kaya Futbol Club". Kayafc.com. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  15. ^ "Chris Greatwich transitions to his new role as Kaya head coach". Kayafc.com. 2015-11-02. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  16. ^ Del, Paolo (2016-02-23). "AFC Cup: Kitchee penalty sinks debutants Kaya FC". CNN Philippines. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  17. ^ "AFC Cup: Kaya 1, New Radiant 0 – The Youth Movement delivers". Rappler.com. 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  18. ^ "Kaya 1, Balestier Khalsa 0: We belong". Rappler.com. 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  19. ^ Lorenzo del Carmen (2016-04-26). "Kaya enjoy perfect away night with three-goal rout of Balestier". Tiebreaker Times. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  20. ^ "5 clubs sign up for new PH Football League". Una Kaya. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  21. ^ "Kaya FC is now Kaya FC–Makati, makes UMak its home stadium". Una Kaya. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  22. ^ a b Jacinto, Christian (10 January 2018). "Talks for Kaya-Iloilo partnership could finally bring PFL games to football hotbed". Sports Interactive Network Philippines. Retrieved 10 January 2018. 
  23. ^ "Kaya FC signs agreement for transfer to Iloilo". Fox Sports Philippines. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2018. 
  24. ^ Co, Adrian Stewart (2 February 2018). "Kaya FC makes Iloilo home field". Panay News. Retrieved 2 February 2018. 
  25. ^ Ferer, Cindy (6 February 2018). "Kaya Futbol Club chooses Iloilo as its new home court". Philippine News Agency. Retrieved 6 February 2018. 
  26. ^ "David Perković". HansOn. Season 1. Episode 12. 27 January 2014. News Media Factory. Retrieved 9 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "Kaya FC–Iloilo!". Twitter. Kaya Futbol Club. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  28. ^ Sebastian, Paollo (2015-12-01). "The Buddy With Glasses: Ultras Filipinas and the Sons of Mighty Kaya". Thebuddywithglasses.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  29. ^ "UFL Cup quarters preview: Why a little bit of hatin' is good". Rappler.com. Retrieved 2017-04-29. 
  30. ^ "Kaya FC players". Kayafc.com. 2018-08-11. Retrieved 2018-08-11. 
  31. ^ "AFC Football / Soccer Clubs Ranking". 
  32. ^ "Players & Staff". Kaya Futbol Club. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  33. ^ "Staff". Kaya F.C. Academy. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  34. ^ Guerrero, Bob (9 March 2016). "AFC Cup: Kaya 1, New Radiant 0 – The Youth Movement delivers". Rappler. Retrieved 9 March 2016. The big news in the beginning of the game was the switcheroo up front by Kaya coach Joel Villarino. (The AFC Cup requires the head coach of a team to have an “A” license, which Villarino has, but the regular Kaya coach, Chris Greatwich, has yet to procure. No doubt Greatwich still had a lot of input in the game decisions.) 
  35. ^ "Sponsors". kayafc.com. Kaya Futbol Club. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 

External links[edit]