Looking at the immense global following of football, we can see that it has indisputably become one of the foremost sports worldwide. Despite the global frenzy, football is not a common sport amongst the Filipino youth.
It is blissful news nonetheless that some of the most promising young athletes choose to enter into the world of football. La Salle’s very own Green Booters, Matthew Nierras and Nathan Alquiros, both emerging stars in the national scene, have played, lived, and breathed football since childhood.
Exposed at a young age
Green Booter Matthew Nierras started playing football at the early age of four. The rigorous training that he underwent helped shape the young Nierras into the force on the field that he is today. As he progressed through his budding sixteen year football career, the incoming fourth year player admits that football has instilled in him numerous values that have aided in shaping him to be the individual that he is today.
“I’ve learned to be disciplined, and it helped me learn to be more responsible especially with time management. I’ve also learned to work with people and develop good teamwork. Being a team sport, I have to communicate and have a good relationship with my teammates, so football has helped with that as well,” shares the La Salle wingback.
On the other side of the field, often seen sprinting down towards the goal, is La Salle hitman Nathan Alquiros. Like his fellow Green Booter Nierras, Alquiros’ childhood has been immensely defined by football. According to Alquiros, he started playing football before he turned five years old. Countless days of training and player development have transformed this 20-year-old Green Booter into the well-aimed winger that he is today; a tactical team-player and a lethal challenger against goalkeepers.
Alquiros also acknowledges how football has made a difference in him. The sport imprinted the value of discipline into his young mind, and according to him, football has made him “madiskarte” or ingenious, especially when it comes to thinking about strategies not just on the field, but in actual life.
“This beautiful sport has taught me how to be disciplined in all aspects of my life and not just for the sport. In addition to this, the sport of football has helped me to become a great thinker and [it has also helped me] learn how to get out of tight situations. It has made me become a person who thinks outside the box,” the veteran Green Booter adds.
A bond beyond the pitch
With blood linking the two talented Green Booters, cousins Nierras and Alquiros have been teammates for almost a decade, hence the well-developed chemistry between the two. Before suiting up for Coach Hans Smit, Nierras and Alquiros both strutted their wares for PAREF Southridge’s football team back in their high school days. Currently, they are also teammates in the United Football League (UFL) where they suit up for Stallion-Sta. Lucia FC.
Nierras shares that they both help each other with simple techniques that are necessary for their individual growth as players. Alquiros further adds that in their years of collaborating in the sport, their chemistry just comes naturally. Tips on tactical movements and personal motivations have always been shared in their football-spangled bond on and off the field.
Making waves in the big scene
The two Green Booters have been having a fruitful off-season as they have both been playing for Stallion-Sta. Lucia FC since the conclusion of UAAP Season 75. Considered relative youngsters in the UFL landscape, both players have already been exposed to the country’s highest level of competitive football. Certainly, it provides them an edge against most of the players their age and it has helped them excel in the UAAP wars.
In the middle of Stallion-Sta. Lucia FC’s chase for the 2012-13 UFL title, Alquiros and Nierras have been critically involved in the action. Nierras, a stalwart off the bench, has been featured in games against the Philippine Army and Green Archers United.
Meanwhile, Alquiros, usually an off-the-bench role player as well, has been a lethal presence at the frontline when on the turf. Lurking past enemies’ backlines, he has produced four goals in his last five appearances. This tally puts him above fellow UAAP stars Jinggoy Valmayor (UP) of Pachanga Diliman, Janjan Meliza (FEU) of Green Archers United and Mikko Mabanag (ADMU) of Nomads Manila in the UFL’s list of top scorers.
Both Nierras and Alquiros are honored to be a part of the team that has been known for having brilliant players such as Rufo Sanchez, Joaco Canas, Lee Joo Young and Ruben Doctora Jr. Having to train with them almost every day, the two have taken a lot of pointers and lessons that they have then shared with their teammates in the college level. Alquiros expresses, “I’ve learned so much stuff even in just a span of a few months and I plan to teach it to the DLSU team so that we may win a championship for the school.”
Setting sights on the future
Despite all of the years that they have spent on the pitch, the bright future of Alquiros and Nierras has yet to unfold as the young footballers look poised to continue their rise to the top. Both La Salle veterans relish being around the sport and are dead set on sticking around in the long run. Nierras shares, “I’d like to be able to play at least another 15 years. There are still a lot of players in their late 30’s still playing in top leagues across the world, so I’d like to be able to achieve that too.”
Alquiros, meanwhile, said that he is willing to play the sport until he is no longer capable of doing so. “I hope that in the future I could inspire others to play the sport for the love of the sport,” the incoming fourth year Civil Engineering student adds.
There is no doubt about the amount of dedication that the two lads have for football. With their current progress at this young age, these promising talents are bound to reach heights. Equipped with praiseworthy skills and values, Alquiros and Nierras will always be ready to take on the different challenges that are thrown at them, both on and off the football field.
The future is bright with these two in tow, not just for La Salle, but for Philippine Football.