Page last updated at 06:17 Asia/Manila, Thursday, 02 May 2013 PH
Wool Reyes, a passionate football player, captain and coach, met his Creator at the early age of thirty four with a Full Heart. Last March 18, the eve of the feast of St. Joseph--Patron of a Good Death-- he died of a massive heart attack that was occasioned by a brain aneurysm. I can picture him telling his Supreme Judge: "I have finished the course Plenus Pectus. This is the motto in Latin that we adopted in the football club that I helped organize with my three brothers. Two words. It means Full Heart. 100 percent. If you put your heart to anything, everything follows. Because we believe more, you see more, and people see that as well and they get inspired." Wool learned his Latin from Southridge, one of the few remaining schools in Asia that still teach Latin as a foundation for the humanities and the learning of the romance languages.
Jose Gaudencio Valino Reyes (nicknamed Wool) was one of my students at the School of Economics of the University of Asia and the Pacific where he obtained a degree in industrial economics in 2002. Before he enrolled at UA&P, he studied at the Southridge High School, where he led the football team to many victories in tournaments after tournaments, including the prestigious Alaska Cup. He started playing football at the young age of seven when his mother enrolled him in a training camp since he was brimming with so much energy. He had a natural talent for the sport and was soon discovered by coaches in the local community and in school. As a child, he played in the Gothia cup in Sweden. Since he is the oldest of four boys in the family (they have five sisters), he was able to inspire all his three brothers to also be football enthusiasts. In college, despite the very heavy academic program of the demanding course in industrial economics, he managed his time so well that he was able to help the UA&P put up the football and futsal programs. Soon after graduation from UA&P, he enrolled in the Master in Entrepreneurship program of the Asian Institute of Management. This helped him sharpen his entrepreneurial skills to grow even more the food business that his late father, Wency Reyes, founded. When his father died, he found himself as a major breadwinner to help his mother send his siblings to college and graduate studies. He did such a good job in growing the business, the Royal Caribbean Jamaican patties, that he received an award from the Franchise Association of the Philippines.
In 2005, he decided to combine his interest in football and his entrepreneurial talent to put up Team Socceroo FC, a football club and a football training academy for the youth. With the participation of his brothers, Team Socceroo FC Academy has put up football camps in major subdivisions in the Metro Manila area like Corinthian Gardens and Tahanan Village. His football club has been on top of the second division in the United Football League (UFC), the country's premier league. Just a few days before his untimely demise, he explained to me and some leading business executives his plan to bring coaches from the world famous FC Barcelona Escola to Manila to train some 144 boys and girls, ages 6 to 14, in world class football. Because of his track record and credibility, he was able to solicit sponsors for this ambitious event among the top corporations such as Caltex, Alaska Milk Corporation, and Business Mirror, among others.
In my last conversation with him, just a few days before he had the aneurysm attack, he laid out his long-term vision for the development of football in the Philippines. As a specialist in industrial economics, he offered to help some of our professors at UA&P to analyze sports, and especially football, as an industry in the Philippines, following a template that he learned from a book written by professors of the IESE Business School. His bringing coaches from FC Barcelona was just a first step for his club, Team Socceroo, to make a major contribution to the institutionalization of a nationwide program to promote the playing of football among various sectors of Philippine society, not only among the well-to-do but especially among the street kids and children of poor households in regions outside Metro Manila. That is why he was grateful to Caltex for considering to sponsor some underprivileged children in the football camp at the Ayala Alabang Country Club that will be conducted by the FCBEscola coaches on April 17 to 21, 2013. In his mind, Team Socceroo was promoting not only the playing of football, but more importantly the human virtues and values that children can cultivate through the proper way of playing the sport. As the flyer announcing the summer football camp states: "At FCB Escola, the FC Barcelona football school, your child will not only learn how to play football like his idols for five days, but also will share the values for which Barca is known throughout the world: tolerance, respect, solidarity, friendship, community spirit, and integration." Thanks to his brothers, who are now very busy implementing his strategic plan, these dreams will surely be fulfilled. Parents who are interested in sending their children--both boys and girls--to the FCB Escola football clinic may go to the website www.fcbescolaphilippines.com or call 0917 566 9739. For comments, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.