Back in his hometown in Schweinfurt, Germany, Azkals captain Stephan Schrock had been pondering his next career move the last few weeks following the decision of Ceres-Negros to transfer its ownership to new investors.
There were offers from clubs from more established leagues in Germany, Thailand and even South Korea, but the two-time Mr. Football of the Philippine Sportswriters Association always felt he could do more if he played in the Philippines, making his decision easy.
The 33-year-old Schrock decided on Wednesday to stay in the Philippines Football League with United City FC (UCFC), the new club that took over the Ceres-Negros franchise.
“I’m excited to help a newly formed club,” Schrock told the Inquirer. “I had offers from many different leagues, but the talks with general manager Ace Bright and the new management were fruitful and promising.”Schrock will not only serve as captain of the club, but also be part of the coaching staff as an assistant.
The signing of Schrock augurs well for the club, which has also secured the commitment of 15 other players from the Ceres squad, including top scorer Bienvenido Marañon.
“Having Stephan commit to staying at the new club means a lot not just to the organization but also to the fans,” UCFC cofounder Eric Gottschalk said.
“He is the captain and the leader of the team and that is what is needed especially since we are trying to establish our new identity on and off the field.”Since it will be taking over Ceres’ spot, UCFC remains in contention in the 2020 AFC Cup, where it currently leads its group that includes Bali United, Than Quang Ninh of Vietnam and Svay Rieng of Cambodia. The AFC has scheduled the group stage to be played in late September in Vietnam.
“We had many talks over the past few weeks and Stephan is very clear where he wants to go: He wants to be able to compete at the highest level and be able to win more titles but he also wants to prepare for his second career once he steps off the field—so our objectives are aligned perfectly well,” Gottschalk said.
“For the 2020 season, Stephan will not only lead the team on the field as captain but also off the field as a playing-assistant coach as a first step to fulfill his ambition to become a fully certified football coach in the coming years.” INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.