Rob Gier, as you all know, is the captain of the Philippine national football team (Azkals), but working in the football industry for a few years now, I got to know Rob as more than a player, and you should too. I hope that this lengthy feature, albeit a belated one, will renew your appreciation for another Azkal that changed the landscape of Philippine football. Let’s travel back in time to 2013 and relive a “bygone” era through this forgotten interview with Rob Gier. I hope it’s not too late.
I’ve had the privilege of working with Rob Gier before, and I can truly say that he is a genuine gentleman with a wonderful personality and a winning mentality. On my first day at work, he sent me an e-mail—not to outline what I needed to do, thank goodness, but to personally introduce himself and tell me that he was looking forward to working with me, among other gentlemanly things. Probably the only one I know who has ever been thrilled to meet me! (BRB, going to cry!)
Over the course of my tenure at my previous job, I noticed that he always displayed the utmost familiarity with the team from the inside out. He was involved every step of the way, and it was, and still is, inspiring. You don’t have to see him on a regular basis to know that he possesses such a great attitude toward the game, his teammates, the staff, and the fans. You will inevitably look up to Rob.
Sir Alex Ferguson once said, “I admire people who show you their emotions. It shows you they care.” First footballer in mind: Rob. Not saying he’s emotional or sensitive, but he is always true to himself. He always shows that he cares, and that doesn’t make him less of a man. And a worrywart like me wants nothing more than a happy emoji, a bag of Maoams, and the assurance that everything will be OK! Always a good listener or reader, Rob is a regular recipient of my novel-length text messages. This Vine video basically sums up our relationship: https://vine.co/v/MYg5H7b0pzb.
Sorry for my lengthy introduction. I just had to set the tone and get you in Gier mode.
In 2013, I interviewed Rob, but we never got the chance to publish it …
Well, the wait is over! A lot has happened since 2013 in Philippine football—where do we even begin?—but the interview some of you have been googling since 2013 is now out. Is it worth the wait? (Say yes!) See for yourselves!
Below is my previously unreleased interview. This also includes questions from some football fans who sent me their questions. I published the fans’ names so you know that we didn’t forget you (and thank you).
MY QUESTIONS FIRST …
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU STARTED PLAYING FOOTBALL? WHO TAUGHT YOU?
I started playing football as soon as I could walk as my dad has always been a big football fan. I used to enjoy kicking the ball around with him and my friends when I was very young, but I didn’t start playing in a team until I was about 9 or 10 years old. My dad taught me the basics, which were then developed when I started playing for my first club, Ascot United.
WHILE GROWING UP, WERE THERE ASPECTS OF PHILIPPINE CULTURE THAT WERE PRESENT IN YOUR CHILDHOOD OR HOUSEHOLD PRACTICES?
There was always a strong Filipino influence in the house. Religion, strong family values, and of course, Filipino food was always being served at home, and we were always visiting my mum’s Filipino friends and their families. I first visited the Philippines when I was blank years old.
WHAT PART, ASPECT, OR FEATURE OF YOURS COULD YOU SAY IS VERY REPRESENTATIVE OF A PINOY?
I would like to think that my strong relationships with my family and my family values were born out of being a Filipino.
WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD AMBITION? DID YOU ALWAYS DREAM OF BECOMING A FOOTBALLER?
I always wanted to be a footballer, often telling teachers, family doctors, and friends that I would one day be a professional footballer. Sometimes they would laugh and say that it was unlikely, but I always believed in myself.
DID YOU SPEND YOUR YOUTH CAREER AT ASCOT UNITED? HOW DID YOU END UP AT WIMBLEDON?
Yes, I started playing with Ascot. Playing football as a youngster is all about enjoying the game, and I can truly say that I loved every second of my childhood football days. I eventually got spotted whilst playing for Ascot and got asked to have a trial at Wimbledon; I think I was about 13 or 14 years old. The trial was successful, and I progressed through the youth ranks and eventually onto the first team. I was lucky to have been educated at Wimbledon as their youth policy at the time was one of the best around.
WHY DID YOU MOVE TO RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS? DID YOU REALLY LEAVE THE CLUB IN 2006 BECAUSE IT WAS RELEGATED?
In my last season at Wimbledon, we were relegated out of the Championship, and I was a casualty as a result. The budget had to be cut, and the manager wanted to make changes to the squad. I thought I deserved to stay on at Wimbledon, but you soon realize that you don’t always get what you deserve in football.
AT THE START OF THE 2007–08 SEASON, YOU PLAYED FOR ALDERSHOT TOWN AND HAD 38 APPEARANCES? HOW WAS IT?
I first went to Aldershot on trial as a right back, and after a successful preseason, they offered me a one-year contract. I always had a good feeling about that club, and I loved my time there. We dominated the league and cup competitions with a great bunch of players, and I think I actually played more games than 38. It was nearer to 50. We won the league and got promoted back into the football league, which is what I had been striving for a few years. However, this was another case of not getting what you deserve in football. Even though I played the majority of the games during that campaign, I was the only one of the regular players not to be offered a contract extension. Why didn’t they offer me a contract? I honestly have no idea; you would have to ask the coaching staff. I was devastated, and it actually hit me really hard. It still irks me to this day, although I now look back at my time there with fondness for what we achieved.
ON MAY 22, 2008, YOU SIGNED A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT WITH GRAYS ATHLETIC. ANYTHING WORTH SHARING ABOUT THE CLUB OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?
I have nothing good to say about that year other than I met some great people. The club, however …
ARE YOU STILL PLAYING FOR ASCOT UNITED?
Yes, I’m still there and still enjoying my football. After the disappointment of Aldershot and Grays, I just wanted time away from football. After a break away from the game, a good friend of mine then asked me if I fancied having a kickabout with the Ascot boys, and I really enjoyed it. I played a few games, and it was nice to play football with freedom and because I wanted to play and not because I had to earn a living. I have gone full circle and will probably end my career at the club I started with.
HOW WAS IT PLAYING IN DIFFERENT LEAGUES? WHICH ONE WAS THE BEST LEAGUE AND BEST TEAM YOU’VE PLAYED FOR?
Each league is very different. The quality of football, the players, the styles of play are all very different. Obviously, the best league in terms of quality was with Wimbledon in the Championship. Saying that, I really enjoyed my time at Rushden and at Aldershot, and I would say that in relative terms that Aldershot was the best domestic team I played for.
ANY PLAYERS YOU PLAYED WITH OR AGAINST BEFORE WHO BECAME FAMOUS?
I have been lucky enough to play against some very good players, especially whilst at Wimbledon, but I don’t like to name-drop.
FROM WHAT PLACE OR PROVINCE IN THE COUNTRY IS YOUR MOM OR HER FAMILY FROM? DO YOU GET IN TOUCH WITH THAT SIDE OF YOUR FAMILY? HAVE YOU EVEN VISITED YOUR FAMILY HERE?
My mum is from Dagami in Leyte. We visited them a few times when I was younger and when the Azkals had a camp in Tacloban before the 2010 Suzuki Cup. I actually met my auntie and cousin for the first time in about 12 years! Some of my relatives live in Manila, so I see them quite frequently, and they come to most of the home games.
HAD YOU VISITED THE PHILIPPINES BEFORE YOU BECAME PART OF THE NATIONAL TEAM?
Yes, twice. Once when I was 5 and then again when I was 12.
YOU STARTED PLAYING FOR THE AZKALS IN 2009. WHO DISCOVERED YOU AND ENCOURAGED YOU TO PLAY FOR THE PHILIPPINES?
My mum was always the one saying I should get in touch with the PFF, but I thought that if they wanted me, then they would get in touch with me. It wasn’t until my mum was pestering me so much that I actually sent the PFF a message through Facebook in which I explained who I was, where I had played throughout my career, and asked if they would be interested in my services. I didn’t think I would hear back and wasn’t even sure if there was a team as there wasn’t any real website with any information about the team. I didn’t hear anything for a few months, then all of a sudden, I got a call from Mr. Martinez (then president of the PFF) asking if I would like to be part of the team for the upcoming Challenge Cup qualifiers in the Maldives. I jumped at the chance, and the rest is history.
DO YOU NOTE DIFFERENCES IN PLAYING STYLE OR DISCIPLINE OF PLAYERS FROM VARIOUS EUROPEAN COUNTRIES?
The English game is built around its pace and physicality. The Spanish guys tend to be technically better but have a slower pace of playing the game, and the Germans are a mixture of the two. Let’s not forget all the other footballing cultures, and I think having all these different components in our team is a big positive for us.
BEST EXPERIENCE WITH THE AZKALS, IF ANY? AND WHY?
Without question the magical 2010 Suzuki Cup run. That wasn’t just my best Azkal experience but the best experience I have had throughout my whole football career. It really was a fairy-tale story.
Other great experiences include our first game back in the Philippines after the Suzuki Cup tournament in Bacolod, where we beat Mongolia, 2–0. The two World Cup qualifying games that were held in Manila, where the crowds were amazing, and on a personal note, leading the team out in Manila for the first semifinal of the 2012 Suzuki Cup against Singapore was a big deal for me.
WORST EXPERIENCE, IF ANY? AND WHY?
Losing the semifinal in 2012 against Singapore was a tough moment. I really thought we had a good chance of reaching the final, and to get so close was devastating.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN A DEFENDER? HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN YOUR PREFERRED POSITION?
I’ve always been a defender. I’ve played right back and center half in my career, but I think my best position is at center half.
BEING THE CAPTAIN OF THE NATIONAL TEAM, IS THERE A BIT OF PRESSURE IN TERMS OF BEING MORE CONNECTED TO THE COUNTRY? LIKE LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE CULTURE, THE LANGUAGE, AND THE PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO SHOW A MORE PATRIOTIC SIDE TO THE COUNTRY YOU ARE REPRESENTING?
Being captain of the team does bring with it a little bit more pressure, but it is something I enjoy. I think that pressure is only on the playing side of things, and I don’t feel any added pressure on the external aspect of things.
WHAT ROLE IN PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL, IF ANY, DO YOU ENVISAGE FOR YOURSELF AFTER YOU RETIRE AS A PLAYER? ARE YOU TAKING YOUR COACHING BADGES? AND IF NOT FOOTBALL, WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO?
I think I will always be involved in football in some capacity. I am currently taking my coaching badges and am constantly trying to improve my knowledge of the game. I particularly like the analytical aspect of the game. I enjoy analyzing opponents’, our own strengths and weaknesses as well as gathering information and statistics and interpreting that to help the team improve.
I have been doing the opponent team analysis reports for the team for two years now, and it is something I very much enjoy, and I like to think the players are appreciative of this too.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PURSUING OTHER MORE SERIOUS CAREERS IN THE INDUSTRY LIKE MATCH REPORTING/ANALYSIS OR FULL-TIME RECRUITING?
Yes, that is something that very much interests me.
FAVORITE FILIPINO FOOD?
Pork adobo made by my mum.
SKILLS YOU STILL WANT TO LEARN?
When I retire, I would like to take up rock climbing. Random, I know, but always fancied it.
FAVORITE TEAMS AND PLAYERS?
Childhood team is Reading FC.
Premier League team is Arsenal FC. All my wife’s family support Arsenal, so I have a soft spot for them too.
Team I most admire is Barcelona.
Favorite player has to be the best player that ever lived—Messi!
DO YOU KNOW WHAT AN AZKAL IS? AND HAVE YOU ACTUALLY EVEN SEEN ONE?
Azkal—street dog. Seen plenty of those in my time. I think the nickname perfectly represents the national team, especially in the pre–2010 Suzuki Cup days.
ANY MESSAGE TO THE FANS?
Thank you for all the support you have shown to myself and the team over the past few years. I want to give a special mention to all the GierFriends. You guys are the best.
Support local football!
OK, TIME FOR THE FANS TO ASK …
FROM CARMEN: HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR TIME BETWEEN YOUR FAMILY, BUSINESS, PLAYING CLUB FOOTBALL IN THE UK, AND EVEN PLAYING FOR THE PHILIPPINE NT AND EVEN DOING SOME RESEARCH ON THE COMPETITORS WHEN YOU PLAY INTERNATIONAL GAMES? THAT’S A WHOLE LOT!
Family always comes first, but during a competition year such as 2012, it can be difficult as we have a lot of preparation games and camps. I am lucky that I work from home, so I get to see the family more than most when I’m in the country, but there is no doubt time away from them is very difficult. I just make sure that family time is just that, with no distractions.
FROM ERASMO MALLILLIN: HI, ROB! I AM ONE OF YOUR ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORTERS, AND THANK YOU FOR ALL THE HARD WORK AND EXCITING TIMES WITH THE PHILIPPINE AZKALS. HOW HARD IS IT FOR THE AZKALS TO WIN AFC CHALLENGE CUP 2014?
I honestly think that winning the tournament is achievable. We are now blessed with a very talented squad that goes beyond the starting 11. Having good talented players that can come off the bench with the ability to change games is vitally important in these types of competitions.
FROM MIA BLEZA NARVAS: CAN YOU SHARE THE FUNNIEST STORY/MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED WITH THE TEAM DURING ONE OF YOUR TRAINING CAMPS OR TOURNAMENTS?
We always have a laugh with each other, so there are a lot of good memories. A particularly funny tournament was the 2012 Challenge Cup, where my partner in crime was Ray Jónsson. We played a lot of pranks on that trip, which Ray still has on video. The best involved Denis Wolf! Oh, and growing mustaches during that tournament was also funny.
FROM PATRICIA JOY BONGATO: HI, ROB. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT SHOULD BE DONE FOR PHILIPPINE FOOTBALL TO FURTHER PROGRESS?
Obviously, our performances on the pitch will be hugely important to help maintain the interest as well as the continued support from the governing bodies (PFF, UFL, etc.).
But the most important aspect for football to continue and progress is to get the kids involved as much as possible. It must be kept enjoyable as that’s what football is all about—having fun. The kids must also be educated, and that’s where the grassroots programs and coaches become so important. I’m glad there is now a UFL youth league, and there are a lot of people doing great things to help develop the game.
FROM LULU MATHEWS: HAVE YOU SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED COACHING AS A PROFESSION AFTER YOU RETIRE AS A PLAYER (WHICH I HOPE IS NOT FOR A WHILE YET)?
Yes, coaching is something that I have been thinking about more and more. I have been lucky enough to have had a good career and gained valuable experience and knowledge of the game, so helping out others and giving my experiences to those who want it is something that drives me. I am actually in the process of obtaining my coaching badges, so watch this space …
FROM DARLENE LATORILLA: NAME ONE THING THAT YOU COULD NEVER GROW TIRED OF.
FROM CARMEN CATEQUISTA: ONE FOOTBALL MOMENT YOU CAN NEVER FORGET.
That’s a tough question as there are many moments in my career that I will never forget. Scoring my first goal will always be a special moment for me as I don’t actually score that many. Captaining the team in the semifinals of the 2012 Suzuki Cup will live long in my memory.
But if I had to choose, I’d have to go for the whole 2010 Suzuki Cup experience. That was a very special time that was spent with an amazing group of people and will be something I will never forget.
FROM CARMEN CATEQUISTA: HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HEAR CHEERS OF SUPPORTERS?
This is something that any player will never get tired of hearing. Playing in front of your home supporters is an absolute privilege. Thinking about the noise from the crowd when Schröcky scored his goal against Kuwait in the World Cup qualifiers or when Chieffy scored the goal in Bacolod against Mongolia still gives me goose bumps and puts a huge smile on my face.
FROM RODA MAY CABALHIN: IF YOU WEREN’T A FOOTBALL PLAYER, WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING, OR WHAT WILL BE YOUR WORK?
Truthfully, I have no idea. I would have probably gone to university and found my path that way. I think it would have been something that kept me physically active, and I love being outdoors, but other than that, I have no idea.
FROM MINETTE TORTAL: YOU WALK ALONG AN ALLEY AND FIND AN ELDERLY WOMAN. SHE SMILES AT YOU AND ASK “IF I GAVE YOU THE CHANCE TO LIVE THE LIFE OF A FOOTBALL STAR FOR A DAY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?” WHO WOULD BE YOUR ANSWER?
Firstly, I would probably be a bit scared of the old lady and think she may be a bit crazy. Haha. But after careful consideration, I would have to say Messi. I would love to see how he views football, and to feel his ability would be great.
FROM IVY NICANOR: GROWING UP, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE THAT YOU REALLY WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLER?
In the UK, football is built into everyday life. It is something most boys enjoy with their fathers, who will regularly take them to watch a football game as well as have a kickabout together.
It is something all young boys in the UK want to be when they grow up, so as soon as I knew I had a talent for football, it was something I wanted more than ever.
FROM IVY NICANOR: IF YOU WERE TO CHANGE ONE THING IN YOUR ENTIRE CAREER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Everything in my career has led me to this point, and I am thoroughly enjoying the moment. Yes, there are things I wish went differently, but I don’t think I would change them. They made me the person I am today, and I am really enjoying things right now.
FROM IZADORA GRACE SABALLA: GOOD DAY, SIR ROB! HOW HAS BEING A FATHER CHANGED YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS A PLAYER, MOST IMPORTANTLY AS THE TEAM’S CAPTAIN? AND WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON OF BEING THE TEAM’S CAPTAIN THAT YOU CAN SHARE TO US?
Becoming a father changes every aspect of your life. She is now the most important thing in the world to me, and everything I do is for her or my family. I want her to be proud of her daddy and hopefully take some inspiration from my career and the way I have tried to conduct it.
When I was made captain, I felt that I had an extra responsibility to inspire the guys and motivate them through my example. That might have been a reason why I had a good 2012 Suzuki Cup.
FROM JIN JE: WHAT’S YOUR NORMAL DIET? ON A CHEAT DAY, WHAT DO YOU OFTEN HAVE? WHAT’S ONE THING, FOOD/DRINK, YOU REALLY LOVE THAT’S VERY HARD FOR YOU TO AVOID/CONTROL EATING (IF THERE’S ANY)?
I don’t really have a specific diet. I just try to watch what I eat and make sure that it is mostly healthy. I do have a weak spot for a good burger, though.
FROM JIN JE: WHEN HE’S NO LONGER PLAYING FOOTBALL PROFESSIONALLY, WHAT WOULD HE BE DOING BY THEN?
I hope to still be involved in football in some capacity, whether that be in coaching, consultancy, or analysis. I’m not sure, but football will always be close to my heart.
FROM JIN JE: IF HE’S NOT A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER TODAY, WHAT WOULD HE BE DOING INSTEAD?
I have no idea where life would have taken me. I was quite academic, so I would have probably gone to university and seen where that path would have taken me.
FROM JIN JE: WHERE AND HOW HE MET HIS LOVELY WIFE, EMMA?
Emma and I actually went to the same high school, and she was in the same tutor (class) as me. We didn’t get together until we finished high school, but we have been together ever since. We started dating when we were 16! So you could say we are childhood sweethearts.
FROM JIN JE: WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP IN A COUNTRY WHERE FOOTBALL IS VERY MUCH COMPETITIVE? DID YOU STRUGGLE TO BE WHERE YOU ARE?
Football is a tough business to make it in, and to have had 12 years as a professional and to have had the experiences I have had is a big achievement. I know a lot of good players that never quite made the grade for various reasons, so I consider myself one of the lucky ones.
FROM JIN JE: WHAT WAS THE FIRST THING YOU BOUGHT FROM YOUR SALARY AS A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER?
The first big thing would probably have been a new car.
FROM JIN JE: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FILM/MUSIC GENRE AS WELL AS MOVIE/SONG? ANY SIGNIFICANCE?
I like a good action movie, but one of the best films I’ve seen for a long time was Senna, a film about the life of F1 driver Ayrton Senna.
Music, I’m a big Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder fan, but the spectrum of music I like is quite broad.
FROM JIN JE: IF YOU’RE GIVEN A CHANCE TO HAVE SUPERPOWERS, JUST LIKE IN THE AMERICAN TV SHOW HEROES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Being able to fly would be pretty cool.
FROM JIN JE: IF YOU’RE GIVEN THE CHANCE TO MODIFY ANY PART OF HISTORY, YOUR OWN OR THE WORLD AS A WHOLE, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Wow, there is a lot of responsibility right there. I think I’ll let the big man upstairs take care of those matters.
FROM JIN JE: WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR PHILIPPINE FOOTBALL?
I want there to be longevity. We will probably not see the results from our grassroots programs for a few years yet, and I just hope that people are long-sighted enough to be able to see this and not drop it and forget it after only a short period.
As long as there are children playing football, then I think everything will be OK.
Obviously, continued improvement of all our national teams is important, with the ultimate goal being qualification for all the major tournaments.
Further development of the UFL and continued support from sponsors and fans are again very important for the future of the sport.
PRESENT ROB GIER: 2015
After that 2013 interview, various friendlies were played, and how can we forget Germany’s winning the 2014 World Cup! As for Rob, let’s see … well, he is still playing for the Philippine national football team. He is still the captain, but the coach is now Thomas Dooley. They reached the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup final against Palestine but lost, 1–0. As if the heartbreak wasn’t enough, in September 2014, the defending Peace Cup champions succumbed to Myanmar in the final of the Philippine Peace Cup, which they had won in 2012 and 2013. They also lost to Thailand in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals. Oops, sorry for the disheartening updates! On a positive note, we made history in the Suzuki Cup when, in the group stage, we won against Indonesia after 80 years. We made history!
Hm, so what else has Rob been up to since 2013? Aside from national team duties, Rob has also been preoccupied with his newest venture—Zenith Soccer Tours. In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Rappler and Pinoyfootball have written about it in detail, but you can also visit the official website for more info at zenith-soccertours.co.uk.
Committed, hardworking, and passionate have always been three of Rob’s hallmarks. As the person behind Zenith Soccer Tours, he brings the same attitude, which, along with his experience as a player and team captain, will surely give the youth a different footballing opportunity that no one has ever experienced. He knows what youngsters need, and Zenith Soccer Tours will be his avenue to give that to young footballers.
I am also pleased to say that we at Kaya FC Academy have partnered with him for the 2015 UK tour. It’s not just any tour—it’s the real deal, the premier football tour that we have lovingly designed for our students. You can read more about our collaboration at kayafcacademy.com/zenithsoccertours.
So after almost two years, I interviewed Rob again, but this time to ask him a few questions about Zenith Soccer Tours. And this time, there’s no waiting involved.
WHEN WAS ZENITH SOCCER TOURS CREATED? IS THIS YOUR BRAINCHILD? IF SO, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THE COMPANY?
I first had the idea to start up Zenith Soccer Tours after I visited the Little Azkals on their UK tours back in 2013. I could instantly see how much the boys loved the program, and their coaches were telling me so many positive things regarding not only of their footballing development but also the social and individual advances that happened to the group over their three-week camp.
I wanted to be able to offer this experience to other kids, and that is why I started Zenith Soccer Tours. My aim is to give these youngsters some memories they will never forget. Football has helped mold me as an individual, and I am a firm believer that experiences like our camp and exposure to different environments and cultures at a young age will help develop and shape these children to become more well-rounded individuals, helping to give them confidence to really express who they want to be.
WHY IS IT CALLED ZENITH SOCCER? I THOUGHT THE BRITISH DISLIKE THE WORD SOCCER AND PREFER TO USE FOOTBALL.
Haha, yes, in my household, football is football and definitely not soccer; however, to reach out to as many different markets as possible, soccer was used. I guess you could say that it is a more universal term.
WHAT IS YOUR LONG-TERM GOAL FOR ZENITH SOCCER TOURS?
I want the Zenith Soccer Tours trips to be a permanent fixture in the Philippines’ youth footballing calendar, something that is anticipated year on year with much excitement. I plan to open the age-groups further in 2016 as well as add girls’ camps, and I want to add different destinations and events to our portfolio too.
DO YOU THINK EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NO LONGER PLAYING FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM, YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHILIPPINE FOOTBALL?
In a way, I believe that our program will not only help the individuals participating, but it will also help grassroots football in the Philippines. We must continue to inspire the younger generation of footballers and football fans because, ultimately, they are the generation that the success of the game in the Philippines depends on.
If I can help contribute to the development of football in the Philippines, either through coaching or through my soccer tours, then I will be a happy man. I’m not quite ready to hang up my boots just yet, though!