Soccer players benefit from international opportunities

Clifton Jones

With its season finally underway, Sacramento State women’s soccer had two players already playing at the elite level of women’s international soccer. Senior midfielder Raylene Larot and junior forward Shelby Salvacion played for the Philippine national team.  

The head coach of the Philippine national team and Cal State Fullerton Titans, Ernie Narras, invited over 90 high school and collegiate soccer players to tryout in two sessions from the US.

It was a move that Narras wanted to showcase quality players for the national team before it started its winter long season.

“We want to identify as many Filipino-Americans and Filipino-Canadians for the women’s national team senior pool as well as the U-19 and U-16 pools,” Nierras told

The first training camp took place Nov. 15-22 that invited 40 players to come tryout. Salvacion made that trip to Fullerton to participate in the five day training camp. However, Salvacion was not apart of the few players that were selected for the national team.

“I wasn’t sure what to think but once I got here I saw how big of a deal this really is,” Salvacion said. “It’s not just representing yourself or your school but an entire country. It’s a great honor to get invited to participate.”

Although Salvacion did travel with Larot to the second five day tryout session over Spring break last semester March 23-28.

“I was really nervous because I was still recovering from a quad surgery after last season,” Larot said. “It was supposed to take six months for me to recover, but I decided to start training again at four months.”

Larot originally was going to go with her older sister to try out, but her sister had to pull out because of her own injury to her knee. Both Salvacion and Larot made the national team along with another player in the Spring tryout session.

Salvacion and Larot spent most of their summer training in Manila, Philippines for about three weeks and the last week in Bangladesh.  It was also the first time for most of the five American born players to have traveled to the Philippines.

Larot said the summer she spent in Southeast Asia was an eye opening experience for her.

“It was a new experience for me personally because I have never been to the Philippines before last summer,” Larot said.” The food was different and it seemed a little disorganized for me.”

While the two were in Manila, they saw the aftermath of an election and protesters marching in the streets for three days.

Salvacion said it was crazy to see something like that in person for the first time in her life.

“We saw riots in the streets,”Salvacion said. “We had to adjust to seeing that because we were not used to their daily lives because we didn’t have to live like the people had to over there.”    

For Salvacion and Larot, training camp in Manila was very regimented in that they were not able to do anything for the first three weeks outside of training.

Once the two made it to Bangladesh, it was more like a vacation for the both of them. Along with the team, Larot and Salvacion did photo shoots and press conferences, as well as appearing on a national tv game show in the Philippines.

“I felt like a superstar there, they treat their national soccer players with more respect than they do here in the US,” Larot said.

When both Larot and Salvacion came back for the start of the summer training camp, head coach Randy Dedini saw a major difference in the way the two play the game of soccer.

Dedini said the time Salvacion and Larot spent in the Philippines had instilled more a greater passion towards the game of soccer.

“They both came back with a heightened sense of confidence coming into this season,” Dedini said.

Salvacion and Larot along with the other american born players saw a variety of competition on the field which included a game against the Thailand national team. As for some of the other teams they faced, Salvacion described it as though they were playing against high school teams.

Even though it was tough at first for both Salvacion and Larot they came back with new friends and a sense of honor bestowed upon them after representing the Philippine national team and it turned out to be a valued experience with an offer to come back and play after this season is done.  

The two plan on heading back to Manila in December to play in the Southeast Asian Games. The SEA games comprise all of the Southeast Asian countries including- Australia, Korea, Japan and China.

“We are excited to go back to have the opportunity to play with the Philippine national team after this season is done in December for the SEA games,” Larot said.