Trojans senior defender Hali Long earned a spot on the Philippines national soccer team.
Long participated in a team training camp the past month and officially made the final cut for a major tournament that runs through early August.
Long is the first player in Trojans history to play on a country’s senior national team.
The Philippines’ 20-woman roster – Long included – is playing in the AFF Women’s Championship that started on Tuesday, July 26, in Myanmar.
The AFF is a smaller organization within the Asian Football Confederation made up of Southeast Asian countries. Included in the 2016 AFF Women’s Championship is the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, and an Australian under-20 team.
Long’s first match was Tuesday, July 26, against Thailand, the highest-ranked national team in the tournament, according to the FIFA World Rankings. The Philippines squad is guaranteed two more matches, at 3:30 a.m. Central Standard Time Thursday, July 28, against Vietnam and against Singapore at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, July 30.
Myanmar time is 11.5 hours ahead of Central Standard Time.
The tournament, much like the World Cup, is organized into four-team groups. The top two teams in both groups will advance to a bracket-style knockout tournament. The semifinals will be played on Aug. 2, and the championship and consolation games will take place on Aug. 4.
Hali Long is one of seven seniors on the Trojans’ roster for 2016. A mainstay in the defense for three years, Long played more minutes than any other player on the team in 2015 and played every minute of 17 out of 20 games last year. She was a large part of the Trojans setting a new team record for average goals against in 2015.
Little Rock soccer begins its 2016 season on Aug. 19 against Northwestern State at the Coleman Sports & Recreation Complex.