Miguel Dizon’s love for football: Fulfilling late son’s dream

Ruth Abbey Gita

MIGUEL Dizon dreamed of becoming a renowned football player but it would no longer happen. It would never happen because he left the world at age 24 nine years ago.

He was a football enthusiast who once played for the Ateneo de Manila High School in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines but unfortunately died of brain aneurysm in November 2008.

But his demise does not end his love for football; it, in fact, is the only beginning to live up to his cherished dream through underprivileged kids who shared the same enthusiasm as his.

Miguel’s parents, Francisco and Joyce, were on their eighth year now of fulfilling their late son’s desire by launching a yearly football tournament in Manila.

Two years after his death, the Cebuano couple decided to inaugurate Kopa ng Pag-silang Miguel G. Dizon Cup that accommodated only about 80 deprived children from impoverished areas at that time, in honor and commemoration of their late son.

On Saturday, October 27, around 320 kids from poverty-stricken communities participated in the 8th local tournament, the "highest" number of participants recorded in eight years.

Mrs. Dizon said the annual local soccer competition was established to help children from depressed areas to be positive and happy in life, as well as to take them away from any unwanted eventualities.

"Miguel loved soccer," she said. "We wanted to do something in memory of Miguel, something which will benefit others."

Evident on their face, Mr. and Mrs. Dizon were euphoric seeing disadvantaged children showcasing their football skills on a sunny Saturday.

The couple's two children also graced the event.

Mr. Dizon said he hoped the kids considered this year's tournament as "a day of joy" as they "celebrate the life of my son."

Gerardine Rabonza, the event organizer, believed the Dizon family have become instrumental for the children to have fun, and at the same time, make the local tournament a stepping stone for their goal to become famous football players in the future.

"I'm really overwhelmed with the support from the different communities that we're having. And I'm really happy to extend help from Mr. Dizon to these kids because these kids are not really the privileged ones," she told SunStar.

"Sometimes, they cannot afford to join a real competition because of the registration fees and the expenses, which are also shouldered by our sponsor, Mr. Dizon, this year," Rabonza added.

The annual Kopa ng Pag-silang Miguel G. Dizon Cup, which was held at the Don Bosco Youth Center in Tondo, Manila, featured 32 football teams, 16 each for under-10 and under-15 categories.

Participating teams included Calamba Puppies, Calumpang Marikina FC, Don Bosco Calauan, Dream Big Pilipinas FA, Elmer Lacknet Bedia Football Academy, Fairplay for All, Miguel G. Dizon FC-Napindan, Riverside FC, San Ildefonso Parish Makatia Football Club, San Lorenzo FC, Tanuan Rotary Club Kids, Tondo Futkal, Virlanie Foundation Philippines, and Western Bicutan FC, among others.

The kids, despite the scorching heat, flaunted their excellent skills, such as passing, shooting, dribbling, and goalkeeping on a grassy field.

Gerard Antioquia of Tanuan, Batangas said football has been his sports for three years now.

He also hoped that someday, he will be recognized as the "best" football player worldwide.

"I want to be the best soccer player in the whole world," said Antioquia, 10, who joined the under-13 game.

The 10-year-old Troy Isolan, also a player from Tanuan Rotary Club Kids, likewise said he wants to be a "superstar" in football industry.

At the end of the day, Alaves (Dream Big Pilipinas) and RCD Espansyol (Riverside FC) took home the under-10 and under-13 trophies, respectively.

Outstanding kids, such as goalkeeper and most valuable player of the year, also bagged medals and cash incentives.

Mr. Dizon encouraged the young aspirant football players to keep dreaming until they achieve their goals.

"To all of the kids, what I want them to do is first of all, to enjoy the sports of football. I think that's the first and foremost. And secondly, if they really have the talent for football, to pursue their dreams of becoming a really world-class football player because I think this is a sports that Filipinos can definitely excel in," he said.

"Anyone among the boys and girls here today who wants that dream of becoming a world-class player, why not? I think that's very possible. And participating in today's tournament, helps them in whatever way, little way, to reach their dream. Then, we're very happy," he added.

Losing teams did not return home empty-handed as they also got loot bags from the Dizon family.

All participants received jersey shirts from the Dizon couple, and not only that, they also enjoyed the photo booth and face paint on the sidelines of the event.

"We make it a point that everyone who participates will realize that it's not really about winning. Almost all of them get an equal treatment," Rabonza said.

Mr. Dizon said he was targeting to expand the tournament by having additional under-16 and an all-girls division categories.