The rise of the Junquera Football Club

When one hears of Junquera St., the first few things that may come to mind are the following: drugs, sex, violence and crime. Feared by many, the street, bisecting P. del Rosario and Sanciangko Streets, part of Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City, has long been synonymous with vices and notorious for several petty crimes.

There are stories of people falling rock bottom and bouncing back. Then there are also stories of young people who are inspired by these struggles and the eventual triumph over adversities. Among them are a group of hopeful and talented youngsters from the different barangays that comprise the entirety of Junquera St.

A story of hope, rebirth and redemption. This is the story of the Junquera Football Club.

To use sports as a tool to prevent crime and drug use among the youth has been a practice long established by rehabilitation groups from around the world. If there’s one person in this country who knows this best, it’s no other than actor Baron Geisler.

Geisler’s life story is an open book. His personal struggles have molded his perspective and driven his desire to be of help to young people, especially those from a street riddled with stigma.

Together with his wife Jamie, Geisler is helping out this group of determined individuals with a passion for football.

The Junquera Football Club is composed of talents who were once part of the “Kamagayan Football Club” that went on hiatus during the pandemic. Its members have huge potential to become pros in the future. The group’s aim is to provide football training to the young people of Kamagayan to help them channel their skills to a more positive avenue.

Coach Rico Ramirez, who was once Kamagayan Football Club’s coach, now coaches the Junquera Football Club.

By supporting this football team, Baron aspires to contribute to providing not only football instruction but also moral life skills to strengthen the resilience of these vulnerable youth, as well as to the reduction of their antisocial behavior through the use of skill teaching and guidance in promoting adaptive and positive behavior and address risk factors for violence and drug use.

“I’ve been through a lot in life and I just don’t want to see lives wasted. If we guide them properly both physically and spirituality then there’s a good chance that they won’t go through what I went through, which was very dark. They’ll become good examples to Junquera and to their area, and eventually by God’s grace ma-redeem ang area na ‘yun,” Geisler said. S