By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

PHILIPPINES Football League (PFL) star and national team player Stephan Schrock did not have it easy in his younger years but his desire to make something out of his life led him to where he is now.

Born in Germany to a German father and a Filipino mother, who traces her roots to Mindanao, Mr. Schrock, 33, saw his parents separate when he was six years old, leaving him and his sister to the care of their mother.

The football star said it was a difficult part of his life, especially seeing his mother juggle numerous jobs and make a lot of sacrifices just for them to survive and have better lives.

But that particular episode also developed in Mr. Schrock a goal not to be swept by the circumstances he was in and make something out of his life, aided by playing football.

“Boxing was first for me as my father was a boxer. But I found my calling in football,” said Mr. Schrock on the podcast Heroes of Halftime with Audris Romualdez last week.

“Football was there for me. It kept me away from bad things. Football gave me everything, what I eat and what I wear… the life I have right now,” he added.

The football journey for him started in Germany through various leagues, including in Bundesliga, before he made his way to the country in 2011 as part of the national team when the opportunity opened up for him.

Mr. Schrock said his football path was anything but paved but what kept him going and surviving throughout were discipline, patience and hard work.

“I’m not the most skillful of players but I put in the work. And if you put in the work, one thing you will get is a result. If you choose to be something special, you’ll become something special,” he said.

Mr. Schrock, who currently plays for three-time PFL champion Ceres-Negros FC, said surrounding one’s self with the right people would also go a long way.

He said his career and life are lined up with people who believe in him and what he is capable of doing, which he is very appreciative of.

Right now, like every athlete in the country, Mr. Schrock is made to bear with the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has put all physical sporting activities to a halt.

It is a situation that Mr. Schrock said has been rough but he is coping with the best way he can and knows how to.

“Right now it seems hard and there is a tendency to blow up things. But I always believe that there’s always something good that comes out of everything. I’d rather focus on that than the things that I cannot control,” he said.

Adding, “The circumstances are not ideal but we can get by. We just have to follow the guidelines. The more we follow, the sooner we can get back to playing football and having it normal. Stay put, stay ready and never lose hope.”

Apart from helping Ceres to the PFL and Copa Paulino Alcantara titles last year, Mr. Schrock was part of the Philippine Azkals that competed in the AFC Asian Cup as well as the U22 team (as one of the team’s overage players) that saw action in the 30th Southeast Asian Games here.

Early this year Mr. Schrock was bestowed the “Mr. Football” award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association.