Lesson # 7: From Jason Luces
Meet Jason Luces (Guy wearing Blue Sando in Photo) – A 19 year old Electrical Engineering student at Cebu Institute of Technology (CIT).
Simple, down-to-earth, but really deadly when given a soccer ball.
He’s really one of the most skillful players I’ve ever met. (And to think that we’ve been playing on the beach where the ball is much more difficult to control). I’d pit him against any player in Metro Manila.
Meeting this guy was probably one of the highlights of our GK Bayani Challenge. I personally got to know more than just a teammate but rather a friend who could use a little bit of help.
You see, Jason only learned Soccer when he was in high school. He worked and played hard to get an offer from Silliman University only to end up entering CIT partly because of the uncertainty of his playing career and scholarship from Silliman and partly because the very coach who taught him how to play told him not to pursue his football dreams anymore.
Unfortunately, Cebu Institute of Technology does not have a football team. Thus, Jason was left to kicking soccer balls inside the basketball court and resorted to kicking basketballs inside the basketball court because his football got punctured.
In short, the talent and potential of this young kid was curtailed both by the lack of facilities and the lack of support from all sectors that could have possibly reached out to talented individuals such as him.
Had he been given the facilities and attention that I had while I developed my own football skills, he would have been 10 times better than he already is. He would have excelled even more. He probably could have had a chance to play for the Azkals.
He told us the story of his brother being offered a scholarship to play for UST but again, their local coach interfered with the decision therefore stopping Jason’s brother from going to Manila to play and study.
All this time that we were listening to his stories about how much he wanted to play, how much he idolized and patterned his moves after Ronaldinho, about how they couldn’t afford to send him to a better school so he prioritized getting a scholarship, about how he someday wished to play for a real football team, my friends and I were thinking about how we could help this guy.
I played football since I was in 1st grade and I’ve played and won tournaments already but I’m not on the same level as this guy who has played for half the time that I’ve played and who has access to much less resources than I have. Sayang. Such a waste of talent. (And to think that he told us that there are more boys like him who love the sport but cannot play because there is no team)
I could only imagine how much talent is being wasted just because we think that the best players are in Manila, just because other schools don’t have the facilities to support a football team, just because we patronize handsome fil-foreigners rather than simple and down-to-earth yet equally skilled locals, just because football isn’t our number one sport.
Look at our own backyard and you’ll see guys like Jason. Willing to play, skilled enough to play, but lacking the resources to do so.
At the end of the day, Jason helped us win the Beach Football Tournament and its corresponding cash prize.
At the end of the day, all we could do was sign the soccer ball that we brought from Manila and give it to him as a gift. He promised to take care of it and enjoy playing. We promised to tell his story when we go back in hopes of finding someone who can help.
Here it is.