MOUNT PLEASANT - Senior Midfielder Ashley Mejilla has been invited by the Philippine Football Federation to participate in a training camp with the Philippine National Women’s football team.
Mejilla was informed following Tuesday morning’s practice, in a special presentation made by Central Michigan University President Dr. George E. Ross in front of the entire team, that she had been invited to participate in the Philippine Women’s National Team’s training camp at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif., between Nov. 14 and Nov. 21 as it prepares for the LA Vikings Cup 2012 in late November. The Vikings Cup will also be held in Fullerton.
“I was surprised, but it was also very exciting to know that a national team is recognizing my talents and is interested in me,” Mejilla said.
The senior health fitness major from Mississauga, Ontario, whose parents are both of Philippine heritage, was unaware of the Philippine Football Federation’s interest in her prior to the announcement. She has visited the country once prior to this announcement.
“This is a big credit to who Ashley is and what she has done as a student-athlete here at Central Michigan University,” head coach Neil Stafford said. “Her hard work has paid off. If your country of heritage calls upon you or has an interest in you, that is the ultimate compliment.”
Stafford said that Mejilla is the first CMU women's soccer player to receive an invitation from a national team to participate in tryouts.
Mejilla will be among the players vying for 23 spots on the 2012 LA Vikings Cup squad. In addition, Mejilla will be included in the pool of players for future Philippine Women’s National Team rosters for FIFA events.
Though she has yet to score a goal this season after leading the team with five in 2011, her elusive and technically skilled ballhandling and hard work in the midfield have opened up opportunities for the Chippewas, who lead the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 5-1-0 conference record, and a 9-4-1 overall mark.
She was a first-team All-MAC selection in 2011, and was named to the MAC All-Tournament team in 2010 after helping to lead the Chippewas to both regular-season and tournament championships.
“Throughout my career at Central Michigan I’ve become a better player, and playing on this team has clearly opened up some opportunities for me,” Mejilla said.
Stafford believes this is not only a tremendous opportunity for Ashley, but also a compliment to the CMU women’s soccer culture that student-athletes like Ashley have helped to create.
“It’s always great to have a student-athlete recognized by a greater entity, and I hope those entities of that level can see what kind of an environment we create on and off the field here at Central Michigan,” Stafford said. “We are pushing to find players who will represent their country, and Ashley is a testament to that.”