JOAQUIN “Joaco” Cañas is his name. And football is his game. No, make that, football is his life.
“I grew up with a football beside me all the time, watching it. I was invited to enroll on teams of different sports like basketball, but I never did. I always played football my entire life,” said the Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club player.
The Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club is a Filipino professional football club originally based in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, playing in the first division of the United Football League, the highest level of Philippine Football. Its major victories are winning the UFL Cup twice (2012 and 2013), the UFL League in 2013 and the PFF National Men’s Club Championship in 2015.
The 28-year-old defender and center back player started playing futsal when he was six. By 10, he joined his first football team, big pitch, 11-a-side. At 17, he signed his first football contract in Spain. He then moved to the Philippines in 2012 to play for the Stallions FC in the UFL.
Joaco’s biggest challenge as a player happened in 2009, when he had a long-term injury. To make things worse, soon after recovering, he had a new injury, different from the previous one.
“It was a hard time, but it never crossed my mind to give up and stop playing football,” he admitted.
Joaco’s toughest time was moving to the Philippines, far from his hometown in Spain. Also, he confesses that his first team in the country failed to take proper care of the players, some of them lived in bad conditions and received their salaries late or did not get them at all. Despite those problems, he is proud that his team managed to win both local trophies that season, the UFL League and Cup.
Joaco, who is used to playing different sports, does not find anything hard in the training.
“There is no hard part in training, the more and harder you train, the better you become. Playing football is my passion and every time I am able to do it, nothing is hard,” he said.
Joaco also studied Sports Science in Spain and does fitness, kickboxing, wakeboarding, and yoga aside from football. When not training or playing, he hangs out with friends, do other physical activities, go to the cinema or listens to music.
The bachelor admitted he is a family person, and misses his whole family who lives in Spain. They see each other through Skype every Sunday. Joaco said he is trying to keep his social life active, as he loves to socialize and meet different people.
“My love life is quiet, still single and waiting for the special one,” he said with a wink.
Joaco lives and breathes football. For him, everything one needs to learn about life can be learned from sports: discipline, courage, leadership, teamwork, effort, loyalty, and other important values.
“If there is an important lesson, it´s not to give up on your goals and dreams,” he said.