Coach Dooley raising level of discourse for PHL football fans is the plot twist we need

My first meeting with coach Thomas Dooley was an educational moment for both of us, while pointing out how a player should react when he’s about to receive the ball, he used a driver’s training analogy. “Do you remember in your driving test and the instructor told you to check both side mirrors and the rear view mirrors?”

I smiled and I reminded him. “Coach, this is the Philippines.”

“Oh right,” he said. “But you get my point, right?” I did and as a sidebar, I finally took a written test when I renewed my license last month. It’s now a requirement.

TD5 IN CEBU. This is me posing with my son and Dan Palami during the opening of the Aboitiz Cup season in Cebu in 2017. Thomas Dooley is in the row behind us.

The last time we talked, in September 2017, he got a bit testy and I couldn’t blame him. It was during the opening of the Aboitiz Cup season and he, along with Dan Palami were the invidted guests. That came after I pointed out in a column that it seemed the Azkals had more coaches than players in the bench during a game in Bacolod. Admittedly, it was a forgettable piece, filed for the sake of filing.

Coach Dooley was with Dan Palami and it was only when I asked to have a photo of my son taken with the coach that he realized it was me. I can’t remember his exact words but I remember the gist of his comment. He was disappointed that I focused on something trivial and that if I wanted to discuss things, there were better ways to raise the topic. I think I replied, rather sheepishly, that I just wrote
what I observed.

When I learned Coach Dooley got appointed anew as the Azkals head coach, I wanted to send a message to congratulate him. But I remembered he issued a warning about a fake Dooley account. Since I wanted to avoid the embarrassment of getting caught communicating with a fake account, I decided to wait it out.

GAME COACH. Coach Thomas Dooley with my then eight-year-old son Mico in 2017. It was right after this photo was taken that he expressed disappointment on what I wrote about the Azkals.

In a post from his public page (if you haven’t liked it, you’re missing half your life. Follow his page by clicking this link) and shared in his personal account, coach Dooley gave Pinoy fans the surprise of their lifetime by opting to connect with them, to discuss more about his strategies and thoughts of the recent Asian Cup qualifiers, when we missed out on making the final stage by finishing as the worst runnerup in six groups.

Calling it an inside view of a coach, he is doing it to educate three of the four category of fans, the fourth being the toxic fans who spew hate.

It’s a laudable move, one that I hope would raise the level of discourse for football in the country. And I’m so looking forward to this because no national team coach has done this before. Granted there was no platform for them to do so before but Coach Dooley is doing this to reach out to the fans.

Maybe the PFL United admins can also do their part by automatically canning nonsense post that doesn’t improve the discourse. Change the moniker to help boost morale? What? Should you change your name to boost your logic? Maybe have a Beginner Friday for posts, questions for newbies, so we don’t alienate them?

When I got the job back, my goal is to bring the team back to where they were four years ago. Obviously, that is impossible to do overnight, in 10 days or in three qualification matches. Like everything in life, it takes time.

Thomas Dooley

For football to spread, we have to encourage fans, yes, even the bandwagon fans.

I guess I’ll also do my part by offering a short FAQ about the Philippine Football Federation, since there are still a few who are not familiar with the organization.

The PFF is the governing body for football in the country and is the designated national sport association for the sport under the umbrella of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Unlike other NSAs, it truly has a national presence with Regional FAs as members. Other NSAs, notably tennis and volleyball only have the UAAP, NCAA and other Manila orgs as members.

It is not a member nor a part of the PSC, the government agency tasked to fund national athletes. The PSC classifies athletes as Class A or Class B and each get a certain allowance (P45,000 monthly for Class A and P30,000 for Class B). These are for usually individual athletes identified to represent the country for a certain sport for a certain tournament in a given year. The PFF, meanwhile, like other NSAs for team sports have different sets of players for a certain tournament for a certain year.

The PFF does get a share of funding from Fifa, AFC and the AFF (at least, based on the last board meeting I attended) but these follow strict guidelines and have to be spent on specific things. I remember reading, a Fifa funding release related to women’s football had to be spent for women’s football.

We already have a technical director for those who suggested that we keep Dooley as technical director. If you have more questions about the PFF as an organization, send a message or post a comment.

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