TACLOBAN CITY – Despite the lack of needed equipment, the members of a football team of San Jose Central School, this city, are determined to play the game they have learned not only to enjoy but also to love.
Playing in a sandy field without shoes to protect their feet from getting hurt, they are so determined to know the discipline of the sport and become good at it.
William Dacutno, 9, got used of playing football without shoes since he joined the club last year.
“I’m already used of playing this sport without a shoe,” he said.
“But it’s better if I will have a football shoes and other gears so I can play better,” the young football player, who comes from a poor family, added.
Idolizing Lionel Messi, the Argentinian football superstar, Dacutno said that he also aspire to play and represent Tacloban City in a big football competition.
Like Dacutno, Leo Reyan Fabi, 12, also plays football without a shoe and idolizes Messi. He had been playing football since he was six years old.
A son of a canteen worker and public utility vehicle driver, it was his elder brother who influenced him to play football.
“I used to have a shoe but it’s already damaged,” Fabi said.
Seeing the kids practice football without shoes is a common scene inside the San Jose Central School, John Ghannier Regis, volunteer football trainer of San Jose Football Club, said.
The football club has been in existing for more 10 years now, but was only reactivated in 2014 due to lack of trainers and gears.
Just like Dacutno and Fabi, Regis said that he also experienced the same when he was young.
Regis, whose most family members are playing football, is now varsity player for Leyte Normal University football team.
Regis added that since the children are from public school and their families are indigents, it is hard for them to buy footgear like shoes, socks and shin guards.
They are hoping that there are people with good heart to donate gears for their football players.
“We want them to have footgear to avoid injuries. We want to avoid problem with the parents of our club members because they got injured during our practice,” Regis said.
Regis added that his football coach had promised to provide the needs of the young football player by setting aside portion of his salary to buy gears of the children.
They were able to buy training vest to know who their players are during practice.
“Even we don’t have good field for practicing football, even they don’t have gears, I can see the determination from the children to learn the sport. There is potential for the children to become good football players,” Regis said.
“Their enthusiasm encourages us more to teach and train them, share with them our knowledge on playing football,” Regis added.
The kids’ performance on playing football will be determine this coming Tacloban City Meet, said Regis.
“That is why with or without gears, rain or shine we continue our practice to prepare the children. I want them to, if not reach or even surpass, what we have achieved,” he said.
Like Regis, some members of San Jose Football Club are now playing as varsity players in prominent schools in the country.
They include Jarred Troy Regis who was admitted as high school varsity player for University of Sto Tomas.