Jim Ashley Flores: Representing club and country

Photograph and copyright owned by The Philippines Football League and was provided to us by Jim Ashley Flores with prior approval.

You played for Stallion FC in your native Philippines. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any particular highlights or memories?

Yes, with Stallion FC back in 2015 and 2016, I had just graduated college and I was signed by the club and at that time at the club I was really doing well.

I was then able to join up with the Philippines national team and we went to play in Uzbekistan to play in the World Cup qualifiers but unfortunately we lost that game 1-0.

I was also part of the team that played against Tajikistan and North Korea as well but then I sustained an injury.

Looking back Stallion FC gave me the chance to showcase myself and that talent that I have but unfortunately in the Philippines football is not great and there are only a minimum of games that you can play along with international games.

At that time the Philippines were not participating in the Asian Football Confederation whereas as now there are currently two teams doing so this year United City FC (Ceres) who will participate in the Asian Football Champions League and Kaya F.C.–Iloilo that participate in the AFC Cup.

You also played for Mendiola FC. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any special memories or highlights?

Mendiola FC is for me my family because the football club are part of my college team so the story of Mendiola FC is that the core of players are made up of the college students and the football club wants to give an opportunity to the college players to turn professional so that is why they founded the club.

When you graduate from college you have an option to play and if you want to play for the club you can so when they started to think about getting back into the Philippians professional league back in 2018.

It was really something for me because I could represent my school again and that was something special for me because the graduates and the people around the club are very close to me and I was willing to play and represent them every time.

We did well in our first season and we were drew against Ceres who were the Asian Football Confederation champions Johor Darul Ta’zim II FC at the time and I felt really comfortable playing for Mendiola FC because for me they are like my hometown and they gave me the opportunity to represent them again as captain of the club last season and this season.

I am looking forward to getting back involved with the national team again and performing well and part of that process is to show people that the young kids of the Philippines can play football and the aim is for them to get signed to a football club outside of the Philippines and for the young kids to see that there is a chance of Philippine players playing outside of the country.

You have also been capped by the Philippines. How do you look back on representing your country and what are your highlights and memories of playing international football?

It is amazing how football is really big around the world because when I went with the national team it was the first time I had played in front of a 50,000 fans in a stadium and it really is something amazing and it is something that I am really looking forward to the experiencing in the future.

I am really proud to have shared a changing room with Neil Etheridge who played in the Premier League for Cardiff City and he is currently playing for Birmingham City in the Championship and it was a great experience was amazing because I saw the talent of good Philippine players.

They can play and the local players are really fast and although not very tall they are really fast and that is football. Football needs fast players because the pitch is big and I think my experience with the Philippines national team in general was great.

I hope many players can go on to play in other countries and for me it is my job now as a coach as well to a least give an example and give the young players a chance to see that Philippine players can play outside of their own country and in Europe too and that is what I am doing.

You mentioned coaching and I wanted to ask how are you enjoying coaching and what do you believe are the skills required for Philippine players to go on and make a success of their careers and ply their trade in a major and well-known league in Europe or elsewhere?

I think it is the opportunity that is missing for young Philippine players because at the moment we do not have an established league which is known to showcase the talent of course but I think right now it is becoming different and some players are currently playing in Thailand.

The league there is really good and it is an established league where scouts from some teams can look at the players and for my the skills that Philippine players need to establish themselves is to maintain their fitness and their speed because nobody can teach you speed but the skills and technique in football can be taught whether you are 16 or 17 years old you can still learn but nobody can teach you speed and that is what we have in the Philippines and I believe that is the core skill in my opinion.

Finally Jim, you are still young a young coach. Is there anything in particular that you would like to ideally achieve during the remainder of your coaching career?

Of course in my coaching the plan is , I am currently a Asian Football Confederation licensed B coach and that is an equivalent to a European C license so my short term plan is to obtain a level of coaching that is higher because I am still learning and I want to continue to learn and the only thing for me to learn is to go outside of the Philippines and see the football community and that is where you learn and my plan is that if there is an opportunity to get a European license that is my main goal.

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