It took a while for the Philippine national women's football team to be widely recognized but on Sunday, they became household names almost overnight after their historic feat of advancing to the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time.
Being more recognized now, Olivia McDaniel and Sarina Bolden said they will use their platform in promoting and raising the bar in women's sports.
"I never would have picked myself as a role model for anyone," McDaniel, in a press conference on Monday, answered in jest when asked about how she would take on the responsibility of being a role model after their feat.
"But just I think to be strong, and like we said, to have that fight and be a role model for the next generation to come, I think it's important that we want to give this team and women's football longevity."
"We want to create more spaces for women in football and in sports in general," she added.
(Sarina Bolden and Olivia McDaniel. Photos: AFC)
McDaniel, who described herself as a fan of the underdog just like the team, said it is also important to show the next generation how to be resilient.
"I think it's important to instill that to the next generation that when things get tough, you can't give up. You can't stop and you've gotta keep going to the very end," she added.
Bolden, meanwhile, hopes the Philippines' historic achievement will serve as an inspiration to those teams who are also giving their best and trying to reach the top.
"Maybe not everyone thought we would be here, but that's the role that we're playing: For the other teams like 'Oh, look at the Philippines. Look at what they're doing,'" Bolden said. "[To] be able to show everyone like if we could do it, you can do it too. I think that will contribute to just growing the sport in general and raising that bar for women's soccer."
McDaniel and Bolden were both crucial in the penalty shootout of the women's squad match against Chinese Taipei on Sunday. McDaniel had a save that extended the country's life in the tournament, while Bolden made the final shot which booked the country to the World Cup.
The women's squad will be the first Philippine representative to any edition of the FIFA World Cup.
—JMB, GMA News