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Chandler McDaniel: 'Excited to be with the team again'

Photo from AFC

 by Drew Malihan

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan - It has been exactly one year, two months, and two days since Chandler McDaniel last saw action in a Filipinas jersey in a 2-0 defeat against South Korea in the semifinals of the 2022 AFC Women's Asia Cup in India, where an ACL tear kept her for playing the rest of the tournament..

Since then, she missed the rest of the 2022 campaign of the Filipinas, including the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, which the Filipinas finished third, and the AFF Women's Championship in Manila, where they cop the gold.

After a long time, Chandler is back in the Filipinas scene, entering in the 60th minute for Sarina Bolden, and getting one goal in a 4-0 outing against Pakistan last Wednesday.

And for Chandler, it was a long time coming,

"I was super excited to be back on the field, maybe I got too eager," the 25-year old said. "but I’m just so happy to get my goal and just happy to be back on the team."

"I couldn’t remember the last time I was this happy," she added.

The younger McDaniel rejoins her sister, goalkeeper Olivia, in Tajikistan for a camp capped with three matches for the first round of the 2024 Paris Olympics Qualifiers, where the group winners will proceed to the second round.

As per Chandler, it was a sign of relief.

"When I was invited back to camp, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders," she said. "I was so excited to be with the team again."

"I feel like there’s a lot building into this moment and since Im finally here with the team, it’s such a relief that all the hardwork that I’ve done has led me to this moment and I couldn’t be happier to be back," the Orange, California native added.

McDaniel will be looking forward to add to her eight international caps and three goals as they will take on host Tajikistan and Hong Kong on the next two matchdays, the latter of which she scored against for her maiden international goal.

"I’ve been away from the team for 14 months, it’s definitely a long journey but I definitely think the journey has made me a stronger player, physically and mentally," Chandler ended.

Follow him on Twitter: @drew_corner

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