SEVENTEEN year-old Troy Limbo has only one dream in life. That is to be a successful professional football player.
He has done lots of sacrifices and has not stopped training since he started playing the beautiful game at age six at the Rosevale School at the posh Xavier Estates subdivision in Upper Balulang, Cagayan de Oro city.
He is right now still far from his dream but slowly, he is on the right path as he has been signed up by the League One Chesterfield Football Club in England after arriving in British Isles in November last year. The club is based in Derbyshire and plays their home games at the 10,504 capacity Proact Stadium.
The son of Darlene Uy Limbo and Jun Limbo first thought it was easy to get into clubs in England but found it hard to even get a tryout.
“I have to look in the internet for open trials. I also tried sending my football CV to clubs like Aston Villa and Birmingham City FC as these clubs were near to my place. Unfortunately, they don’t give open trials. Instead they wanted to see me play and they would send their scouts to watch me. At that time I did not have a team yet so there was no way they could see me," he said.
So, from November up to January of this year, he just trained by himself to stay fit. Fortunately he found a small team in Stamford where he sent his CV. They then allowed him to stay and play for them for almost three months.
During his stay in Stamford, he continued his quest to get into a bigger team until he found a trial in London. From that trial he was scouted by Chesterfield and was asked to come to the place for more trials.
“After two weeks I received an email from Chesterfield asking me to play for them. Then I signed a 12 month contract," he added.
Troy was a member of the original “Little Azkals" team which was organized in summer of 2011. Part of the team was JB Borlongan now playing for the University of the Philippines in the UAAP. Top youth players from Cebu Major Dean Ebarle of Abellana National School, Mario Lorenzo Ceniza of Springdale, Moiselle Angelo Alforque, Vincent Lobitos of Don Bosco Technology Center, Kintaro Miyagi of Sacred Heart School, Lawrence Colina of University of Southern Philippines-Foundation, and Cebuano-Italian Lorenzo Genco also were members of that team.
Now, most of these players ply their trade in various schools in Manila while Genco plays in an Italian club. Genco’s mom Rachel Ruiz Genco is the owner and founder the vaunted Guissepe Football Club in Cebu city.
He remembers the nice experience he had training and playing with the original ‘Little Azkals’ in the summer of 2011 under coaches Oliver ‘Bing-Bing’ Colina and Eleazar Toledo.
“It was three months of hard work at the Don Bosco Boys Home field in Liloan Cebu. Training twice a day and with Sunday only our rest day. We would go to church as a team. It was hard at first because it was the first time I was really away from my family. I was homesick but then I felt comfortable with people around me," he said.
The ‘Little Azkals’ played many games after their training and even toured Italy. They also played in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U13 Festival of Football in Laos where they won three, and drew three matches.
Troy finished grade school at the Abbas Orchard School after leaving Rosevale School after the second grade. He then moved to La Salle Greenhills where he was given a football scholarship.
When he finished high school last year, he played for Kaya FC U17 team in the United Football League (UFL) and was promoted to the Kaya FC Senior team B.
Since he really dreams of becoming a professional footballer, he tried his luck in England last year where his elder sister works in the midlands in Birmingham city.
Troy loves to play right winger and he credits various Cagayan de Oro coaches Wilfreu Dela Riarte, Don Derrick Dalapag Derequito, Lloyd Gargar, Percy Guarin and Allan Medalla for teaching him the how to play the beautiful game at an early age.
He is also thankful to his coaches in La Salle Greenhills, Marlon Maro, Freddy Estacion, Dave Tudence, Bagets Pinero, and Alvin Ocampo.
It will still be a long journey for Troy before he could finally land a lucrative contract with a top notch English football club. His journey is just starting but right now he is already an inspiration for our local football playing lads.
Next month Philippine Football Federation (PFF) Department Head for education and head coach for the Philippine U19 team Marlon Maro will conduct trials for the team which will compete in the AFC U19 tournament. Troy is very much interested to play for the team if he will be called up.
It would be a waste if coach Maro fails to call him up. Troy has the skills, the heart and the right attitude.