Limpag: Soccer lessons

Mike T. Limpag
·3 min read

I saw an interesting Twitter exchange between Anton del Rosario and Stephen Schrock a day before favorites United FC was to face Maharlika in the Philippine Football League.

Del Rosario, a former Azkals regular with a mean throw, teased the former Hoffenhiem player how embarrassing it would be for a guy who started out in the Bundesliga to lose to a team led by a 38-year-old who calls the sport soccer.

Schrock merely said del Rosario should be looking forward to a lesson and then 24 hours later, punctuated the 90-minute fieldwork with a solo effort in UCFC’s 10-0 win over the new

team on the block that is made up of old kids.

But that’s not the lesson the two are teaching us.

Schrock said United didn’t take Maharlika easy because doing so would be an insult to del Rosario and what he has done.

“I respect (Anton’s) work and what he’s doing; giving the opportunity to these boys who may (have) fallen off the roster or were unlucky with the clubs that did not pay or something,” Schrock told Tiebreaker times.

Maharlika is quite a story. Del Rosario, like so many of his teammates, got a bill to collect from Global FC, but that didn’t stop him from putting up a new club. That’s not easy, as what the defaulting owners of Global have learned much to the dismay of a few players.

And aside from the backroom work, as del Rosario pointed out, he’s 38 and most guys I know who are at that age are playing in the 38-above divisions, not in the country’s top division.

By not letting up in their match-up, Schrock is teaching us that the best way to respect a foe is to treat him the way you’d want to be treated. I’ve seen so many teams treat weak teams with disrespect.

“Duwa na, duwa-an pa gyud,” I heard one coach say after seeing his player make unnecessary plays. (I fear there’s no decent English version of that phrase.)

I’ve seen some parents too who react strongly after seeing the teams their kids are on get buried by an avalanche of goals. “Why are they still scoring, they should let us score!”

But as what Schrock showed us, that’s not how you play. If you want to be with the big boys, you have to beat them and to be able to beat them. You have to take their best punches.

Sure, some may read something else about the Twitter banter of the two, but I hope—like what my friend Rico Navarro loved to say—this would be a teachable moment to kids who want to grow up playing football.

And I don’t just mean the 10-0 win Schrock’s team showed but how del Rosario and his fellow former Global players recovered from their experience.