Pacific FC announced on Thursday that midfielder Matthew Baldisimo has been selected to the Philippines senior men’s national team for its upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.
Baldisimo, 23, was born in Vancouver, but he is eligible for the Philippines through his parents.
The Philippines will be playing three qualifying matches in the early-June window, taking on China, Maldives, and Guam. Baldisimo will join the side for an 11-day training camp in Doha, Qatar before traveling to China for the three games.
The Philippines currently sit third in Group A of AFC World Cup qualification, having played five games already, winning two, losing two, and drawing one. If they finish first or second in the group, they will advance automatically to the next round of AFC qualification.
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“It’s been a long process because I was supposed to go to a camp a year ago but then Covid happened,” Baldisimo said. “I was really looking forward to the next camp and then this one came up. Now I’m just really excited to meet all of the other players and see what kind of environment I’m getting myself into.
“It was a big decision, but then it also wasn’t, because I haven’t been involved in the Canada program for a while. I honestly feel a big connection to the Philippines even though I don’t speak the language and I’ve never been there. I just feel a big connection through my parents and the culture I grew up in. I have that little bit more pride to go and represent them.”
Baldisimo previously represented Canada at the U-17 level, and his brother Michael was part of the Canadian U-23 squad at Concacaf Olympic Qualification in March, but Matthew has opted to represent the Philippines at the senior level.
Matthew’s brother, Michael, plays for Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS and made four appearances for Canada’s under-23 team at this Spring’s Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament.