Street kid is Eastern Visayas' promising footballer
DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines - Archie Lombre plays good football. He runs fast and has nifty footwork and ball-handling skills.
At 16, he has already established himself as a key footballer in Eastern Visayas (Region 8). His coach Irvin Nogar is proud of him. "Archie is a very good player. He is very hardworking and dedicated. He knows how to play very well with his teammates. He will have a good future if he continues to work hard," Nogar said.
But life hasn't always been this good for Archie.
Like any other player in his team, Archie started playing football at a young age -- when he was 6. He would run around the streets of Tacloban barefoot and play football with his playmates until sunset.
By sundown, most of his playmates would go home to their respective families. Not Archie. He dreaded home.
Archie was a street kid ever since he can remember. Despite having his family around, he often opted to roam the noisy boulevards of Tacloban.
'I am a street kid'
"I am a street kid. I roamed the streets of Tacloban because I found more peace there."
He said he didn't want to stay home due to family problems. "We have a broken family," Archie, the 9th of 11 children, told Rappler in Filipino.
Archie recalled that his father would punch him and some of his siblings whenever they're home and he was drunk.
When asked why their father beat them up, Archie took some time answering, looking far ahead and choosing his words carefully. "I don't know. Maybe he has a problem and he just wants to get it out of his system. He was fine as a father when he was sober. It only happens when he's drunk," he said. His mother would simply choose to keep quiet.
His father, according to his mother's stories when he was young, was a former athlete himself. He was a boxer in their small municipality, and a great one at that. In his heyday, he would constantly knock the consciousness out of his opponents.
But his father got into all sorts of vices. He started drinking and smoking a lot, bringing to a swift end a promising boxing career.
Archie was 12 when his father died due to lung complications. His father's death came 4 years after he left their home for a foundation center.
Fresh start at The Center
Archie was adopted in 2005 by Australian Reverend Margaret Pashley of the Leyte-Samar Center for Change Foundation in Tacloban. The Center rescues children off the streets and provides food, clothing, accommodation and schooling for these kids, one of whom was Archie.
In this place, Archie found refuge and affection.
He said his parents allowed him to be adopted and admitted to the center because it would do him good. "It's okay, you should be there. You will be in a better position [in the foundation]," he said, recalling the exact words his parents told him when he was bound to go to the center for good.
And they were right.
It was in the center where Archie learned how to play football. A former English pastor, Pastor Mark, gave him his first proper lessons on football. Under Pastor Mark, he learned how to dribble and make set plays and trust his teammates.
From the streets to the pitch
From the dusty streets of Tacloban, Archie is now one of the ace players of his region's high school football team.
He scored 2 goals in Region 8's first win in the football event of the Palarong Pambansa 2013 against Caraga (Region 13).
They won the game, 5-3.
On the second day of the tournament, Archie assisted in one of the two goals that Eastern Visayas drilled to pull off a massive upset against defending champion NCR.
Archie attributed his good performance to his teammates. He said their unity won them the game. "The two goals were a product of the effort of the team. I wouldn't have scored them without my teammates. We won our games because there's unity in us," he said.
"The goals are for my region, Region 8. We want to win this. I hope we will," he said.
But above all, he said, his victory is for his family. "For my mother, and also for my father. Despite what happened in the past, I still miss him. I still miss them." - Rappler.com