Audie Menzi, a member of the football-loving Menzi family, has etched his name in Philippine football history as the first Igorot professional player to score a goal on the international stage. His lone goal against Shanghai Port on June 23, 2021, propelled Kaya FC-Iloilo to the group stages of the 2021 AFC Champions League.
A Football Journey Rooted in Family and Community
Hailing from La Trinidad, Benguet, the strawberry capital of the Philippines, Audie's passion for football was ignited at an early age. Alongside his older brothers, Michael, Nick, and Orlan, he would spend countless hours honing his skills on the football grounds of Benguet State University (BSU).
His footballing prowess caught the attention of Far Eastern University (FEU), where he became a standout player for the Tamaraw Men's Football Team. During his time at FEU, Audie contributed significantly to the team's championship triumphs in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
A Historic Goal and a Beacon of Inspiration
Audie's journey took a significant turn in 2016 when he joined Kaya FC-Iloilo. His dedication and talent earned him a regular spot in the team's starting lineup.
The defining moment of Audie's career came on June 23, 2021, when he scored the winning goal against Shanghai Port in the AFC Champions League playoffs. His header in the 17th minute secured Kaya FC-Iloilo's place in the group stages of the tournament, a momentous achievement for the club and for Philippine football as a whole.
Audie's goal not only cemented his place in Philippine football history but also served as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring Filipino footballers, particularly those from indigenous communities. His message to his fellow Igorots, "Naka goal t Igorot!" (An Igorot scored!), encapsulates the pride and determination that he embodies.
Joining the Philippine Azkals and Aspiring for World Cup Glory
In June 2022, Audie Menzi's exceptional talent and dedication earned him a call-up to the Philippine Azkals, the national football team. He made his Azkals debut in a friendly match against Indonesia, and he quickly established himself as a valuable asset to the team.
Menzi's contributions to the Azkals have been promising since his debut. He has shown his potential to be a key player for the team, and his performances have been praised by his coaches and teammates. In 2023, he was named to the 26-man roster for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, where he is representing the Philippines in their quest to make history by qualifying for the World Cup for the first time.
Audie Menzi's Legacy
Audie Menzi's journey from the football fields of La Trinidad to the international stage is a testament to his unwavering dedication, talent, and resilience. His historic goal has not only left an indelible mark on Philippine football but has also ignited a spark of inspiration for future generations of athletes.
Audie Menzi's legacy extends beyond his on-field achievements. He has become a role model for young Igorots, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, anything is possible. His story is a reminder that success can be achieved regardless of one's background or circumstances. Menzi's inclusion in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers roster further solidifies his status as a national icon and a driving force for Philippine football.