Sport

Jarvey Gayoso reflects on leaving Ateneo, the Azkals and the next stage of his career

Jarvey Gayoso reflects on leaving Ateneo, the Azkals and the next stage of his career

MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo football star Jarvey Gayoso recently announced on Instagram that he’s foregoing his final playing season with the Blue Eagles this UAAP Season 82.

While Gayoso’s premature departure caught many Ateneans and outsiders by surprise, those closest to the football standout, including teammates and coaches not to mention family, knew that Jarvey wrestled and agonized over the decision for over a year. Even right before Season 81, where Gayoso helped Ateneo to its eighth UAAP men’s football championship (and 14th overall including those won in the NCAA), it was already there. 

After his recent Southeast Asian Games stint, Gayoso knew it was time to take it to the next level. 

“Learning to play a different position (right back) and learning to play more aggressive defense opened me up to the possibilities of being flexible on the pitch,” bared Gayoso. “It isn’t everyday where there is an opportunity that presents itself.”

That opportunity is with the Azkals Development Team where Gayoso will not only train with the best in the country and professional leagues, but if ready and granted an even bigger opportunity, to also play abroad. 

“For every footballer, aside from playing for the country, playing overseas is a big dream. I want to see if I can do that,” he said.

During the lead-up to the Southeast Asian Games, Gayoso was supposed be among the first cuts. Some coaches fought for his retention. His college coach, Jaypee Merida, helped work on his weaknesses that allowed him to stay not only in the pool, but also make the Sea Games roster.

Being asked to play an unfamiliar position was difficult, but Gayoso relished it. “You always want to be reliable not to mention flexible, he said”

Right now, just being in the same dressing room and on the pitch as senior luminaries such as Stephan Schrock and Daisuke Sato (who Gayoso says he is most impressed with), leaves Jarvey wide-eyed and in wonder. “You want to learn so much from these guys because they have been through a lot of battles for club and country. And they have played international football. Especially Schrock who played in the Bundesliga (with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).”

Should that happen (playing overseas), it won’t happen until at least six months from now. That means Gayoso will be a bystander, a supporter, when Ateneo takes the pitch in the next two weeks to defend its crown. “I know I will feel bad but all I can do is cheer for my teammates now,” said Jarvey.

“The night I posted my farewell to the Ateneo men’s football team (he previously bade his goodbye to his coach and teammates with ample to spare so they could forge ahead without him), I watched a lot of the old games I played in. I got teary-eyed watching them. What we went through as a team was no joke. It was difficult but at the same time memorable.”

Aside from the championships, Jarvey said that the most memorable game for him was the second round match against La Salle last season. “We lost in the first round, 2-1, and in the second round, we were all locked in (the Blue Eagles got back, 3-1).”

Gayoso’s eight years playing for the blue and white was surreal. The young footballer helped Ateneo win two senior titles and was a prolific scorer, netting 50 goals in four years — the most since La Salle’s Christian Lozano during the mid-1990s. During his high schools, he played on Ateneo’s Ocampo Field, named after his late grandfather Ed Ocampo who was then feted by the press as “Mr. Football.”

“That was something else,” bared Gayoso. “And my dad (Jayvee) also played there as did my uncle (Alvin Ocampo who now coaches La Salle).”

Right now, Jarvey will finish this semester with Ateneo then take a year’s leave of absence to concentrate on football. “After that, I will come back and finish my last year so I can get my diploma.”

“But for this semester, I will be a fan in the stands. I am excited both for Ateneo and the opportunity that presented itself for me.”

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