Stephan Schrock, No. 17 (Facebook photo)

MANILA – United Clark, the reigning Philippines Football League (PFL) champion, will be without longtime captain Stephan Schrock as its 2022 calendar commences.

In a statement on Friday night, the club said the 35-year-old midfielder has entered free agency after he opted for the early termination of his three-year contract.

"UCFC (United City Football Club) would like to announce the departure of captain Stephan Schrock after mutually agreeing on an early termination of his contract," United Clark said. "UCFC will now take this opportunity to build the Club's winning football philosophy, with identifying and developing local talents at its heart. Once again, the Club would like to thank Stephan for his contributions to UCFC and wish him all the best on his next career move."

Schrock, who re-signed with the club last year, has yet to release his own statement as of posting time.

Speculations have arisen about the future of the team formerly known as Ceres-Negros as its main gunner, Bienve Marañon, left the club for Johor Darul Tazim of Malaysia in the preseason.

Still, United Clark maintained veteran presence after keeping winger Mark Hartmann, keeper Jun Badelic, and midfielder Arnie Pasinabo, who was also named the club's equipment manager.

Also staying are Pika Minegishi, William Grierson, Anthony Pinthus, Mike Ott, Jordan Jarvis, Andy Campollo, Kieran Hayes, Adam Tull, Curt Dizon, and Cholo Bugas.

Among United Clark's high-profile newcomers are former Global Makati striker Paolo Salenga, journeyman forward Ricki Sendra, former Istiklol midfielder Amirbek Juraboev, and former Kaya Iloilo keeper Matt Silva.

United Clark begins its season on Thursday night when it takes on Maharlika Manila in the Copa Paulino Alcantara at the Philippine Football Federation National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.

United Clark will also see action in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League in Thailand in April while it starts its defense of its PFL title in June. (PNA)