Patrick Deyto: From Green Booter to Philippine Azkal
Tricia Robredo on Jun 07, 2015 09:41 PM
“I hope the kids realize that you don’t have to come from overseas to get to this level. Our football program now in the Philippines is good, and if they just continue to work hard and believe in themselves, anything can happen.”
Ever since the rise of football in the Philippines, spectators have been used to seeing the country being represented by players from outside the country. Just to set the record straight, we don’t have a problem with that! It’s a pleasure having them play for the flag. (Right, girls?) And it’s not really ironic, as most of them have Filipino blood anyway. But of course, it would always be nice to see homegrown talent on the field, right? Well in the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup/ AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers on June 11, we will be seeing a few of them, and for the UAAP fanatics out there, one of them may be a very familiar face to you.
Despite failing to bring home a trophy to Taft back in his college years, Patrick Deyto still managed to bring honor and recognition to the De La Salle football program and the entire community. The former Green Booters skipper had been most especially recognized for his exemplary performance as goalkeeper, and a lot of people felt that it would be a shame not to hone and make use of this talent further. So before Patrick even finished his stint in the UAAP, he was already being waited on by guys in the United Football League (UFL) and, later on, the national team – all of which he joined after getting his degree.
Patrick says there is luck involved in getting to where he is right now. “I think I just do what I do always. I accept my role, I focus on the things I can control and I play to the best of my ability. I make it a point to give it my all and I’m really lucky that the coaches noticed my performances and trusted what they saw.” However, he also shares that being recruited is one thing, but actually getting to play is another. “It also took a while (for me to get to play). I was always in the bench, always on the stands.” But in March 2014, he finally got his break with the Azkals on a last minute turn of events – three players couldn’t make it to the AFC Challenge Cup, which then pushed Coach Thomas Dooley to call up and field in the former Green Archer.
The Philippine delegation in the upcoming qualifiers is said to be one of the best squads assembled yet. It’s definitely a good thing, but Patrick says that this also makes the competition tough and cutthroat. And as he reflects on the time he spent with the Azkals, he shares that it’s always been. But overall, he still considers it a good experience because he continues to learn and improve because everyone tends to raise their games at a higher level.Â
If there’s a word that would best describe his journey so far, Patrick says that it would probably be fulfilling. And he hopes that his story could serve as an inspiration to those who dare to dream. “I hope the kids realize that you don’t have to come from overseas to get to this level. Our football program now in the Philippines is good, and if they just continue to work hard and believe in themselves, anything can happen.”