LIVING THE DREAM
Major Dean Ebarle
From a chance tryout to being a professional football player with stints in the Philippine Youth Team in between, Cebuano Major Dean Ebarle has certainly gone a long way in his football career.
Ebarle is currently the youngest member of the Philippines Football League’s KAYA FC-Iloilo’s first team. He got the call to be part of the team back in February, just a few months before he got his Human Resource Management degree at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, wherein he was also a varsity booter.
“Overwhelmed! Very overwhelmed!” Ebarle quipped when asked how he felt after he was informed about being part of the Kaya FC-Iloilo first team.
Ebarle also played for the Kaya’s Under-19 team which won the Youth Football League title last year.
Unlike other athletes, the 20-year-old Ebarle got into football not because he was influenced by someone else or that he already liked the sport.
At the age of six, he and his mom were on their way home from the City Central School when he saw his classmate who was also with his mother. His mom asked the mother of his classmate where they were going and she answered that they were going to a soccer tryout at the Abellana National School, which was just beside City Central School.
Ebarle’s mom then asked him if he wanted to go and he said yes. So he tried out garbed in his school uniform and school shoes.
Ebarle was so tired after that first tryout that he got sick afterwards. But he persisted until he finally got accepted.
“So basically walay nag influence nako kay akong papa gusto niya mag basketball ko,” said Ebarle. (So basically nobody influenced me [to try football] because my father wanted me to try basketball.)
But Ebarle said that his dad supported him anyway. Unfortunately, his father died in 2013 due to liver cancer when Ebarle started getting selected for the Philippine youth team.
From that time on, he made his dad his motivation.
“Gihimo nakong motivation ang pagkawala sa ako papa. Gi-dedicate nako ang mga achievement sa iyaha.” (I made the passing of my dad my motivation. I dedicate all my achievements to him.)
According to Ebarle, it was fortunate that he fell in love with the sport, otherwise he probably wouldn’t be where he is right now.
Ebarle became a consistent member of the Philippine youth teams from the time he was 13 years old in 2012 until 2016. He has played in various Asian Football Confederation and Asean Football Federation tournaments. And, as a varsity booter, he also helped Benilde win the men’s football title of the National Collegiate Athletic Association last season.
For Ebarle, the difference between being a professional footballer and a national youth team member is exposure.
“I think for me the only difference is the exposure. I was young when I was in the national team so my game wasn’t that matured. Now that I’m in professional football, the intensity is different. You really have to give your all. Because if not, you’ll get left behind,” said Ebarle.
Ebarle admitted that it started with just him wanting to play and not really knowing that he can accomplish a lot through the sport.
“Definitely yes! I think this is every footballer’s dream, to become a professional player,” Ebarle quipped when asked if it was a dream come true.
“This is not just a sport anymore for me. This is now my passion and my life. Football helped me to become a better person every day. Football helped me improve in every aspects in life. Football gave my friends, good friends. Football helped me finish my school. Football helped me achieve all of my goals and dreams in life so far. Football has been part of my life and I want to play as many years as I can.”
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