MANILA, Philippines – Despite being born into a sports legend’s family, George Posadas nearly gave up his own athletic dream.
Posadas – the son of 15-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Elma Muros-Posadas and Philippine athletics national coach Jojo Posadas – wanted to put an end to his athletic career until he earned a sports scholarship to the Campbellsville University’s volleyball program.
“Honestly, coming to the US wasn’t my plan at all,” said Posadas.
“I originally just wanted to be a regular student. I just wanted to study in Japan to pursue a business major. However, I guess fate has something to do with it, that it really wanted me to explore more with sports and did not want me to just give it up just yet.”
It seems to be the best of both worlds as Posadas is taking up a business degree major in marketing in the Kentucky-based university, while competing in the Mid-South Conference. The Campbellsville men’s volleyball team currently ranks second in the standings of the 2021-2022 season.
Posadas said the opportunity to become a student-athlete abroad came during the pandemic, where he also felt that there was no hope in sports. He submitted an application to Sportsync, a platform that connects student-athletes to university coaches who are recruiting from Asia, which allowed him to snag a slot with the defending champion squad.
Now, the opposite hitter is gaining exposure in the US collegiate league as he trains and competes with his teammates who come from Germany, Puerto Rico, and Hong Kong.
“I’m glad I chose this path because I think it gave me more of life,” said Posadas who considers the opportunity a blessing during the pandemic. “It gave me another shot to pursue my passion and dreams in volleyball.”
Stepping out of his family name
One of Posadas’ goals is to carve a name for himself outside the legacy of his mother – an Olympian and decorated heptathlete, hurdler, and sprinter during the 1980s and ’90s.
Growing up, the Posadas family was very involved in sports and excelled in academics. His sister Klarizze was part of the Ateneo women’s basketball team during her college days, and is currently based in New York after pursuing a masters degree.
Posadas himself was exposed to many sports such as football and swimming, then eventually represented Brent International School in track and volleyball.
According to Posadas, his parents never pressured him or his sister to pursue athletics or be limited to the field of sports.
“My parents never dictated what I should be. They’re not pressuring me to be whatever they want me to be like. They want me to be my own person and be able to make these decisions for myself,” said Posadas.
When he was given another chance to pursue sports overseas, though, he realized that he actually might have a chance to make a name for himself in the sport of volleyball.
“Most of my goal just really comes from taking this chance to grow and explore like stripping away from the image of my mom because she’s the most well-known one from my family,” shared Posadas.
Posadas knows that it will be a journey to get to that goal. Standing at 5-foot-11, he initially questioned his abilities to excel in the US collegiate scene especially when the average height of players abroad is above 6 feet, and his teammates also came from diverse backgrounds.
But his coach reassured him they will be focusing on his development and his time to shine will come.
“I was very glad when my coach told me that I don’t have to really rush my development or anything. I have all the time in the world to develop the player that I envisioned to be,” Posadas added.
Inspiring other youth
Through this pathway, Posadas has renewed dreams of representing the Philippines in men’s volleyball.
And even if the door to the national team is not available to him yet, he is already carrying the Filipino pride in the current opportunity he is in.
“I want to prove myself that I could be something more despite my height, despite my disadvantage. There’s just a lot of things that I want to prove not just to everyone but for myself that you know, as a Filipino I want to carry that pride as well. Kung kaya ko, kaya niyo rin (If I could make it here, you can too),” said Posadas.
According to Sportsync founder Magnus Leung, his goal is to have athletes like Posadas develop and reach the international level.
“We’ve seen this happen before where athletes get cut from the national team at the youth level, then they go to these pathways or they go abroad and they get even better and then now they’re highly recruited back into the adult national team level or the Olympic level, so that’s the thing that we want to build on at least,” said Leung.
As sports continues to recover from the pandemic in the Philippines, Posadas encourages young athletes like him to hold on to their dreams and seek opportunities to continue playing.
“I envision to be that player who can hopefully inspire other young, aspiring athletes, who probably have such amazing capabilities with their respective sports that they should probably seek those opportunities like what I did,” said Posadas. – Rappler.com