Football fans can expect a big news from former Philippine Azkals’ team captain Stephan Schrock in the coming days. The Pinoy football icon and legend told The Designated Kit Man that he is going to make an official announcement on the next phase of his illustrious career soon and it will surely benefit Philippine football, to be specific, the next generation of Philippine Azkals.
Schroecky, as he is fondly called by his legions of fans, is eyeing to play an active role in coaching the Azkals Development Team or ADT. The ADT is composed of young and promising Pinoy footballers, who are expected to be in the senior squad once they are ready and needed.
“I’m going to announce it probably in two weeks’ time what I have worked on in the past four weeks so there’s going to be something that will help [Philippine] football,” Schrock said.
In one of my previous conversations with Philippine Azkals Team Manager Dan Palami, there was a mention of how Schrock can help and bolster the ADT. Schrock’s desire to do more for the young ones might be the push that is needed to make the plan into a reality.
“It’s a very exciting time. I know, moving toward my final third of my career – it’s time to give back, to help out. Question for me if not, again abroad, is to try Thai or the Malaysian leagues. I have plenty of offers this summer after my announcement that I’m leaving United City FC, but I wanted something that is related to Philippine football. And I wanted to do something here. Hopefully, everything will push through,” Schrock explained.
Aside from his vast experience and solid contributions to the Azkals and Philippine Football in general, Schrock believes that it is time to hand these knowledge and other valuable lessons not only in football, but in life as well tothe next Azkals.
“It is very important for me to believe in something in the Philippines. I have always considered playing for the national team or playing in the local league to help develop football. Overall, wherever I get involved in, that’s good for me. I’m happy to help. I’m happy to give back and I’m happy to let them learn and experience from someone who reached higher league and other higher divisions,” he added.
Schrock said he can help make the ADT stronger and battle ready. And as their mentor, he has one priority in mind to start from.
“As a player, I think I’m mentally stronger than others. That’s something young players lack here. They are not really professional in terms of preparing themselves for a league, a cup or a tournament. I’m turning 36 in August and I’m still not having days off. I’m still not slacking off the work and that’s a big part of a football or in life where you can reach higher stages, not just relying on talent, abilities or God given strengths, but is something you work on and stay on track through hard work,” he said.
Aside from his exploits as player, Schrock was with the national team for more than 11 years. But he will not just lean on his stints with the national team and spells in playing overseas in guiding the ADT. We have to remember that Schrock was the former playing coach for United City FC in the domestic league.
“Everything is something that I have to also prove on the pitch. I was the playing coach at United, you can clearly see that the team that I was leading played the best football and we deserve the league title back in 2020. So I’m looking forward to do the same at ADT,” Schrock said.
He added that talks are ongoing with Palami to finalize everything on his role in ADT. He is confident that thing will work out well not only for him and the team. He is excited and happy the way things are shaping up.
Schrock is also grateful that his family is 100% behind his decision to stay in the country. Just like his stops overseas and even during the pandemic, his wife and kids are with him no matter what.
“We stayed here throughout the time and when I was Ceres Negros FC and United City. Obviously the pandemic forced us to move back to Europe even if we didn’t like it but for my family. My wife and my kids have no objections to go to Thailand or Malaysia, but they love it here. They feel at home here and they are very supportive,” he explained.
Of course any chat with Schrock will not be complete if he will not be asked regarding the failure of the Philippines to advance in the 2023 Asian Cup. While he can’t say with certainty that the outcome maybe different, he assured that he would have played his heart out in the pitch if he was selected to play with the team.
Incidentally, Schrock was the first and only Filipino so far to score a goal in the Asian Cup when the Philippines qualified in the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates. Schrock wrote himself into the record books when he rifled a strike in the 80th minute against Kyrgyzstan in the group stage of the competitions. While the Azkals lost the match, 3-1, Schrock’s goal was among the highlights of the campaign.
And in two weeks’ time, Schrock will make an announcement that will mark another chapter of his career.
“I think that’s the right time and the right way for me to do. Like I said before, my long-term goal is to become a coach at the Philippines Football League. That’s what I have mapped our for my self and I believe in that and it will happen,” he added.
We can’t discount what will be the impact of Schrock’s presence in the ADT. Not all good players become good coaches. I even heard someone say that shitty players make for good coaches. But whether Schrock turns out to be a boon or bane to the ADT, I will let the football gods decide on that. Better, I will let Schroecky show us. His experience and influence over the next generation of Azkals can’t be measured and even discounted. But I’m going way way ahead of the story. I just want him to get the job, be more involved with the ADT soon and take it from there. I, along with the multitudes of football fans wait with bated breath and hope that Schrockey’s success in the pitch will also resonate when he calls the shots for ADT.
And speaking of making things happen, Kaya FC Iloilo will begin its campaign in the AFC Cup by taking on Cambodian champions Visakha FC today at 5 p.m. in Bali, Indonesia. The Filipino side is in Group G, along with Indonesian kings and hosts Bali United FC, Malaysia Super League runners-up Kedah Darul Aman FC and Visakha.
Let’s get the win Kaya FC Iloilo!
Stay safe. Stay happy peeps!
For comments or questions, you can reach The Designated Kit Man at erel_ca[email protected] or follow his account at Twitter: @erelcabatbat