First time football viewers will probably remember him for his hip ponytail, while old-time fans may refer to him as Global FC’s prized defender. Well, enough with the labels and vague name-calling. Our latest footballer feature goes by the name of Jerry Barbaso, Global FC defender #63, and if you’ve got qualms about that, talk to the hair.
Run, Jerry, Run
Born in the Orchid City (that’s Dipolog in Zamboanga del Norte for those who slept through Sibika class), twenty-four-year-old Jerry Barbaso grew up shooting hoops, belting Step Up-worthy dance moves and speaking perfect Cebuano. It was only at 13 years old that he first met the acquaintance of the soccer ball and decided, “Football it is!” Yes, he is that kind of guy, cheerily decisive. Kicking became the new dribbling, and he started out as a right winger.
Of course, that didn’t stop him from his other activities, like track and field, basketball, and dancing. If you watch him closely on the pitch, or ask him real nice, he might give a spin or two. Oh, did we mention that he did gymnastics too as a kid? Makes us wonder what kind of fish diet they serve in Dipolog.
Going back to business; football only appeared in Jerry’s sporting radar at age 13, when this was introduced to him by Coach Reginald Jukes, father of former Laos FC teammate Reginald Jukes Jr. This was the moment in Jerry’s life when he was asked what position he plays, and with the Coach’s accent, Jerry immediately blurted out “Defender!” And so Jerry began his official role on the defense. Weekends meant practicing with the team and foregoing that basketball he’s gotten to love.
Earning a scholarship from his football skills, Jerry was able to take up Management Accounting at Dipolog Medical Center College Foundation. Juggling balance sheets and balls couldn’t be that bad, especially when his school’s team received victories, giving Jerry the necessary field exposure and experience.
Jerry cites that despite starting late in the game, all it takes is practice and more practice to get into the zone. And running. If babies were born crying—Jerry must’ve been the exception—as he might have been born treading.
Win or Laos
For those who are not quite familiar with Jerry’s football history, he made his debut as an official football figure at Laos FC in 2009.
However, landing a spot in the said team was a combination of an accident, sheer luck and good ol’ friends. Jerry was only staying at his Aunt’s place in Cavite after a university-related game (he was still a senior), found friends playing for Laos FC, joined some training sessions and finally found himself defending for the team in one game. After this whirlwind pitch-crashing turned success story, Jerry finally joined the team, officially, in June.
Now back track a little; let’s not forget about school. Before you start conjuring ideas of Jerry, the Hippie Dropout, don’t let the hair deceive you. This is a success story, and to continue, Jerry Boy also graduated from college that year, and if luck wasn’t with him, brought him to the employ of APT as an accounting assistant in August 2009.
A job and a football career both on track, what more can this young man hope for? Well, a lot more, it seems.
Proud to be Global
Still in 2009 Laos FC wanted to join the UFL, and to cut the long story short, Global FC was born with Jerry as one of the pioneer players in Division 2. Playing as a defender and aiding the team with his strengths in speed and tackling, Jerry was instrumental in Global FC’s growth and newfound prominence. In the 2009–2010 UFL Season, Global FC was crowned the champions and he was hailed as the MVP for Division 2, while his counterpart for Division 1 was Ian Araneta.
Proving itself competent, capable and Above All, Global FC was eventually promoted to Division 1, and the rest is history.
Jerry carries the number 63 in his jersey—not for mathematical or residential reasons—but somehow, being an accountant has something to do with it. Everyone who works ought to know that the accountant is the most important human being during payroll time. Well back then, the go-to money guy was interestingly named Sixto, and next to him was Jerry. Anyone old enough to count should know what comes after Sixto, that’s 63! Get it?
If you didn’t get that, well too bad. Maybe Misagh can explain it to you better.
He may not look as tough as his favorite player Carles Puyol—except for the hair, I guess—but he can surely take care of his opponents skillfully and carefully before they can even get to the goal area. Preventing strikers or any player for that matter to find a chance to shoot or attempt to score is his default area of expertise. While he can outrun anyone back and forth as well, it is worth revealing that stamina, alertness, resiliency, and marking all play crucial roles in making him an excellent defender. He isn't a pushover!
It would not come as a surprise that “speed” is Jerry’s strength on the pitch. When he was in college, he decided to join the Milo Marathon (10k) and next thing he knew, he was awarded 2nd place. His early inclination for track and field turned him into a super runner—and capitalizing on this attribute was largely instrumental to his success.
What he did with all that Milo though, he didn’t say.
Defending the Dog Pound
If you think going Global was Jerry’s biggest football stint, well, here’s more—getting to join the Philippine National Team or the Azkals. This was the time of the emergence of the team, the recruitment of players and the reign of Coach Des.
In 2010 was Jerry’s first International game, the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan. It wasn’t the fact that he was playing in a different country or feasting on authentic dimsum that excited him and inspired him to move forward.
“I was there on the pitch, singing the National Anthem and representing the country!” exclaims Jerry with Pinoy pride.
To wear the Philippine logo loud and proud, that should be every young Filipino’s dream, and Jerry Barbaso has done that. That’s one item off his bucket list.
Of course, after Taiwan came other opportunities. Becoming quite the Asian tourist, he’s been in the historical 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, in the second leg of their 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifying match against Mongolia, and in the 2011 SEA games. Jerry was also in Japan with the Azkals to conduct their high-altitude training to acclimatize to the Mongolian temperature when it was hit by the earthquake and tsunami, so we forgive him for not bringing home some green tea mochi. Daijyoubu! (It’s okay!)
For the Junior Azkals fans, Jerry must seem like a familiar face as well, having participated in the 2012 Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in Brunei, where he was one of the 2 seniors allowed to accompany the U-21 players. Bonding with the juniors was easy, since Jerry isn’t that much older than them.
While the team’s experience in Brunei wasn’t the most exciting time of their football lives, the learnings were tremendous. Even as a “senior,” Jerry found exposure in a foreign-based game and also found potential among the young ones.
One, Two, Jerry
Jerry was raised mainly by his Mom, since his father passed away when he was 4 years old. Curiously enough, his father was named Jerry Sr., while he has another older brother who goes by Jerry Jr., leaving him as Jerry 1st. There are still 2 other older brothers unaccounted for, but we are under the impression that Jerry isn’t their main name or this would certainly create confusion for their mom and mailman. Jerry (the Global FC player) is also lucky that Jerry Jr. doesn’t play football, or any coach is sure to get a mouthful of bewilderment with the Barbaso Bros. As if the Angeles Twins weren’t confounding enough!
Jerry was greatly inspired by his late father, a former military man, that he nearly took up Criminology in college. A crime fighting defender? Surely this would give him the authority to reprimand bad refereeing! And a red card in return!
Speaking of cards, Jerry proudly claims that hasn’t been given a yellow card for this UFL season. While prompted by others to get one, as if the elitist Yellow Card Gang recruits only the card carriers, Jerry insists that he could do his job just fine even without the slightest violation of human rights. A good reader of the game knows that you can actually play football in a safe and responsible manner (sometimes). You can anticipate your opponent's next move and position yourself well. And that’s Jerry the Crime Fighting Defender for you.
Having been with the Laos and Global FC team for nearly 3 years now, Jerry has certainly found a second home. He has been through the transition and establishment of Global FC—only he remains from the original Laos FC—that if anyone would have the wealth of knowledge to write this piece of history, he’d be the best player resource.
Among the Global FC players, best buds from the team include Yu Hoshide, David Basa and former player William Gueridonn. Jerry looks up to Captain Hoshide not only as a friend but also as an advisor and confidante. Maybe Yu sees an oniichan in Jerry which is why he is fondly called “Jerry Boy.” On second thought most of the guys in the team call him that, so there’s no way of tracing who started that very original sounding moniker. However if you insist that it was Coach Graeme, I don’t think so.
Chieffy and Ian are some of Jerry’s Azkals mates, since they all stem back from the days of Coach Des. None of these folks could’ve coined Jerry-Boy as well.
Of course, a feature on Jerry Barbaso could not be put to a proper close without any mention of his hair (by the way, this is J.Anne, Miji’s brother, doing all the hair talk!). While describing it further may sound like a shampoo ad (long and curly, bouncy in a pony) Jerry considers this his prized feature but not to the point of calling it his Achilles Hair. He’s maintained such a ‘do since he joined the team, and only cut it short for his first job interview.
If we happen to cut it accidentally, he will not burn or wilt but might even thank us for saving him on shampoo costs. Because that’s the kind of guy Jerry Barbaso is, easygoing, cheerful, lighthearted and certainly light-footed.
Despite the seeming trials and challenges he’s been through in life, all he did was give a smile and look ahead. There were no problems that couldn’t be solved, no obstacles he couldn’t skip past. In fact the word problem doesn’t seem to exist in Jerry’s vocabulary, except to say, “No problem.”
Atta (Jerry) Boy!
Ready for a meet and greet with Jerry Bravo? Impress him with your Cebuano or ask him about tax recon. If both might seem difficult, do as Jerry would and never say never. Here’s a guide to get you to know Jerry Boy, no hair tips though.
Follow Jerry Barbaso on Twitter: @1yrrej
Follow J.Anne Gonzales on Twitter: @LazyBlack_Cat
Follow Miji Gonzales on Twitter: @mijigonzales