WHO would have thought that the football player who used to have nothing but an improvised shin guard would be the first president of the Central Visayas Football Association?
Using only slippers and an improvised shin guard made from a plastic container for motor oil which his teammates got from a gasoline station, Rodney Orale started loving the sport despite the limited resources they had.
“We cut the plastic container and then we stitched it to a cut out from a slipper. That’s how I started with football,” Orale said in Cebuano.
The Samar-native Orale also said the first time their team was able to wear spike shoes after many years of playing was when they qualified for the Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association.
“The shoes didn’t fit so we had to exchange it with the others, to get shoes that would fit us,” he said.
Orale was in high school when he started with football. He then joined the provincial meet in their town before making it to the Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Meet.
Orale was supposed to play for the Palarong Pambansa in the year 1994, when it was hosted in Cebu, but the then fourth year civil engineering student wasn’t able to compete. Back then, the Palarong Pambansa included the tertiary level. Now, the Department of Education organized meet is only for the elementary and secondary division.
But Orale finally arrived in Cebu when he reviewed for the Civil engineer licensure examination.
When Orale thought that leaving his hometown meant leaving the sport he once fell in love with, he thought wrong.
His stay in Cebu opened bigger opportunities for him, not just in his career as an engineer, but also in football.
Since construction in Cebu was on a boom that year, Orale decided to stay and practice his profession, which led him to meeting his wife.
Years later, he enrolled his firstborn son at football powerhouse Don Bosco Technological Center (DBTC), which led to his dalliance with the sport again.
Orale recalled the moment when his son, Erich Rafael Orale, who was in his primary school back then, told him he wanted to play football and asked him for help.
“Niingon si ER nga ‘Unsaon man nako pagdula daddy nga wa man koy mga gamit?’” shared Orale.
Hearing his firstborn son ask that made Orale recall the time when he had nothing. So he made sure his son would have everything.
Straight off from work, Orale brought his son to a mall to buy all the gear and equipment he needed.
His son was also part of the team that was invited to a training headed by coach Glen Ramos, the DBTC head coach, and the now football dad accompanied his son.
“I went with him to watch his practice and since we also brought a ball, I just played at the side,” he said.
Orale was just simply waiting for his son when Ramos approached him and invited him to join the Hiroshi Football Club, ending his almost five-year hiatus from the sport.
That one opportunity was the key for Orale to open more doors as he also joined the San Roque Royal United before getting more involved with DBTC.
When the Cebu Football Association, now CVFA, held its election in 2012, Orale became part of the new board.
During the term of CFA president Pericles P. Dakay Ph. D, Orale was put in charge of the local referees. It was one of the hardest committees to head because of the conflicts of previous referees but Orale managed to unite the different factions.
When the CVFA elections for the board of governors was held last March, Orale never imagined he would win.
Now that he is the president of the association, the 46-year-old engineer knows there are still lots of things they need to develop in Cebu’s football community, and among his priorities is to increase the number of licensed coaches and to focus on the grassroots program.
Orale is hoping that in four years, there will be more tournaments and he also wants some of the younger referees to be able to officiate internationally.
Under the new bylaws, the CVFA is also mandated to take care of beach football and Orale said they will be looking at the nearby towns for possible venues. They will also continue promoting futsal, one of the strong points of Cebu football.
Orale, together with the new board, is hoping the local community will also rally behind them.