Any player worth their mettle should understand that being on a football field is a constant back-and-forth skirmish against the other team.
To any serious football player, the pitch is a battlefield: plays will be executed, shots will be made, and the aim of the game is to make sure that the ball digs itself against the net of the goal – over and over, as many as humanly possible.
Everyone on the team is a single unit that act towards this objective. Every player is responsible for their team’s glory.
This is not a write-up about them.
For in every team hails a person at the coaching zone, shouting commands and lashing encouragement. A maestro who orchestrates methods and plays that would ensure goals are achieved with utmost efficiency. An overseer who watches the pitch with clear-cut precision, barking instructions so that every part of the team’s unit is adapting to the ever-changing pace of the match.
At the helm of JP Voltes’ coaching zone is Coach Frank Muescan.
And this is his story.
“I started playing football back when I was in grade one at Don Bosco, Negros Occidental,”
…he mused as he recalled how his school in Bacolod had its own field.
“The people there encouraged us students to play the sport and it was that exposure that got me into it.”
Fast forward to his college days, Frank took up Computer Studies at Visayan Data Computer College. He recalled how he wasn’t as active as he was in football during that time. “I concentrated on studying and only played football for two years during college.”
This did not affect his love for the sport, however, as he took his chances and departed to Manila, hoping to land a job. Sure enough, he managed to get a coaching stint under Marist School in Marikina City.
He has then been coaching for 28 years since 1989 and was employed by JP Voltes this year.
And the rest was history.
“There is no such thing as the ‘hardest part’ of being a coach – everything about it is equally challenging,”
…Coach Frank answered. Being a coach is like being a captain of a ship. “You’re the one runs the team, who decides for the team. There’s nothing easy about it.”
Drawing inspiration from his role model Pep Guardiola, a professional coach and the current manager of Manchester City, Frank detailed how a coach’s personality will reflect on the performance of the team.
“If a coach takes his job lightly or relaxes for just one bit, the team will also follow suit.
“There is no easy way to coach as there is no easy way to win.”
And just like Pep, he strives to be someone who can influence everyone and anyone and have his concepts delivered in a way that would translate well on the pitch.
“But it’s that feeling of elation when you see your players responding to your instruction well and them seeing why it’s good for them,” Frank recalled as he described how the rest of the team act as if they know exactly what to do on the football field.
“I think that’s the best and most rewarding part of being a football coach.”
“The camaraderie in JP Voltes, whether Japanese or Filipino, is prevalent. Discrimination does not exist – everbody’s given a chance to excel.”
Though Coach Frank has only been coaching JP Voltes for several months, he claimed that he has been having no glaring issues in handling the team.
“Everyone is very receptive and responds well to how I coach them.”
He also mentioned how unlike in the other teams where only the top players are utilized, every single player in JP Voltes is given the opportunity to showcase their prowess on the field.
“As a team, they all grow collectively,” stating that one player’s gain is an increase towards the team’s level of play.
As JPV’s coach, it’s his responsibility to mentor and impart ideas to the team in order for them to be in top shape as well as being able to score goals in the most efficient way possible against the opposing team.
This is, however, a two-way give-and- take deal.
“A player must focus more on developing their performance and maintaining their level of play during games.”
“One thing I can notably point out in JPV is that they can control the game.”
Having a few matches under their belt, JP Voltes still has a long way to go. Currently standing at one win and two losses, the climb to victory is only getting steeper.
Coach Frank is far from fazed, however, and is maintaining a palpable sense of optimism.
“Improvement will come in time. Slowly but surely,” addressing the uphill battle that JPV needs to overcome.
“Everyday is an opportunity to improve.”
JPV’s strength, according to Frank, is the team’s ability to dominate the game itself in a way that they can consistently control the flow the game.
“We dictate the pace. Even against stronger teams, we are the ones who are doing the imposing,” and it’s up to the other team to adapt to JP Voltes’ style of play.
But the sad truth is that the only statistic that matters most in football is the number of goals that are made. Considering that JPV’s strength is in controlling the field, it would’ve been optimal if their goal opportunities were actually converted into points.
Frank is fully aware of this but sees it in a positive light. “I think that’s a sign of a team that’s on the rise,” he stated proudly.
All eyes are on the pitch as both teams duke it out for ball possession. A pass, a sprint, and an opportunity presents itself.
In a decisive moment, a shot was taken and the ball darted from the striker’s foot to the back of the net. The crowd goes wild and a moment of recluse passes by as the players assume their formation once more, waiting for the next kick-off to commence.
And behind the coaching zone, Coach Frank surveys the pitch once more, readying himself to impart orders as needed.
The game is far from over.
In an alternate timeline, we see Frank in a family-owned kitchen donning an apron as he peruses the next order in line.
“Cooking has always been my hobby,” he said, cheerfully entertaining the thought of running a karinderiya should he have not pursued his passion for coaching.
“I used to sell Bacolod Chicken way back when.”
With an eyebrow arched, I humored him as I pictured Frank managing his own food place with an apron. A far cry from how he is when he’s at the technical area but sure, why not?
Seeing my skepticism, Frank Muescan retorted that Bacolod Chicken is nothing to scoff at.
“Pag natikman mo ‘yon, siguradong makakalimutan mo ang mahal mo!”