LIFE for the 22-year-old Richard Talaroc Jr. was not easy while growing up in the town of Manticao, Misamis Oriental, some 73.6 kilometers away from Cagayan de Oro city.
He is the fifth child in the family of eight of Elsie and Richard Talaroc Sr.
It was hard growing up for Richard Jr. as his father had to work hard in the copper mines in the mountains of Manticao to make ends meet and feed his eight children.
It became worst when Richard Sr. died at age 46 of cardiac arrest when Richard Jr was only 13 years old.
Luckily, he had football for a fall back.
The town of Manticao has a tiny football community based at the Manticao Central School. It was where Richard Jr. learned how to play the beautiful game under coach Dorward Bruce Pacana.
After finishing elementary, he was recommended by his town mate and former San Beda basketball coach Noli Mejos to then San Beda High School coach Timo Orcullo.
He made it to scholarship program of San Beda from 2009 to 2012.
After graduating from San Beda, Global Football Club (FC) signed him for their youth team. It was then that his football career flourished. He played for Global for three years and even saw action for the Philippine Under-22 team in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2015 in Singapore.
This year, he has been named to the SEA Games team again this time in Malaysia in August.
Football has been good to him. “Because of football, I can sleep now in nice beds, eat good food and have nice things,’’ he said.
His success has even inspired his two younger brothers Kurt and Van to also take football seriously.
Twenty-year-old Van is trying out with the San Beda college team while 16-year-old Kurt is now with the Ceres Youth team.
When the Davao Aguilas FC was organized for the Philippines Football League this year, Richard Jr. was one of the six U22 players signed by the Davao based club.
Other U22 players signed are Dylan de Bruycker, Andy Esswein, Vanrey Diaz, Pringoy Joseu, Franco dela Torre and Jason Cordova.
He is also ready against Ilocos United FC on Sunday. The Aguilas are now in Vigan, Ilocos Sur to debut in the PFL at the Quirino stadium.
“We have prepared long for this match. Our Australian coach Gary Shaw is also good. He has planned what we will do on Sunday,’’ he added.
Richard also advises players who want to be professionals to never stop training. “Just train every day and practice self-discipline,’’ he added.
Richard has inspired his two brothers to play football. After Sunday’s match, many young and poor players will also be inspired to play the beautiful game.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 06, 2017.