Birthplace: Brighton, England
How did you start playing football?
“My father was a very keen football player and fan. Its the number one sport in England so a high percentage of boys try football growing up. It was easy for me as both my older brothers were already playing and like many siblings you tend to follow the influence of your elder brothers and also the passion of my Dad. I remember from a young age me, my Dad, Chris and Phil would go down our local park and kick around. I got hooked and loved the competitive side of football, at 8 years old I signed for my first professional club, Brighton and Hove Albion FC.”
What made you play for the national team?
“I had trials with England U15 when I was 14 years old, at this point my eldest brother Chris was already on the verge of representing the Philippines. When the realization kicked in that I wouldn’t make it for the country I was born and raised in, my attention turned to Asia. The PFF president at the time, Mari Martinez, would constantly ask Chris if i would fly to Manila, even at the age of 16. Both Chris and Phil would tell me stories of playing for the national team and the whole culture of the Philippines. Seeing as I had yet to visit my mothers homeland, I become very excited at the prospect of playing for the Philippines and finally jumped on a plane in 2008 at the age of 19. It was a life changing decision for me as I now reside in Manila on a permanent basis and I am still active with the Azkals.”
What’s your message for all the Filipinos out there?
“I would love to see the crowds back watching our games and playing in front of full stadium. During the World Cup qualifiers in 2011 Rizal Memorial stadium was packed and football was the hottest ticket in town.To get that buzz and attention back would be a dream come true once again. With fans cheering us on it gives us that extra motivation and really makes a big difference when we play against these higher ranked teams. The atmosphere and passionate fans is something I would love to see return to football here. I would also encourage young Filipinos to be active in grassroots football. Due to my passion and connection with Philippine football I wanted to give back to the game and the opportunity I was given here. This is my third year coaching in youth football and I have been very impressed by the ability of the young players. If my influence can help promote football further and develop players for the future then that will be extremely rewarding for me personally.”