The UFL lost one of its most passionate and charismatic figures last Monday when Wool Reyes, Team Socceroo co-founder and manager, succumbed to what is suspected to be a cardiac arrest at around 6:30 in the evening.
Reyes had been comatose for a week after collapsing in Fort BGC. The cause of the collapse is surmised to be an aneurysm and there was severe internal hemmoraging in his brain.
Wool is survived by his siblings Cotton, Chuckles, Cheer, Champ, Nicholas, Michael, Paulus, and Cheil as well as his mother Tina. Several of Wool's siblings played Football and Nicholas was a national team Futsal player.
Reyes picked up Football at the age of seven and played in the varsity teams of PAREF-Southridge school. He was able to play in the Gothia cup in Sweden as a child.
In college Wool helped start the University of Asia and The Pacific Football club. He also played for Laguna in the old P-League, according to his friend Gue David.
David says that Wool was crucial in the development of Futsal in the Philippines, since he helped build the Futsal program in UA&P.
Wool was also instrumental in creating the Football scene in their subdivision, Tahanan village in Parañaque.
Blessed with a powerful left-foot, Reyes played for and helped found Team Socceroo in 2005 with some friends. Socceroo also has a Soccer academy to teach the game to kids at the grassroots level.
Team Socceroo, which has recently been fortified by Koreans from General Trias International, is currently atop UFL's Division 2 with a perfect 18 points from six games.
He had not played yet in this season but according to his good friend Philip Bengson, he was getting into shape in the hopes of joining the fray.
His latest Footballing venture was a very ambitious one that was just weeks from becoming reality: to bring FC Barcelona's Escola Football camp to the Philippines. The five-day camp is scheduled to take place starting April 17, 2013.
Wool is described as a “bundle of nervous energy, intense and passionate” by his good buddy John-D Borra.
Eleven years ago Wool, the eldest son, became the head of the Reyes family after the tragic death of their father Wency from a heart attack. Wency is notable for having exhorted Filipinos on Radyo Veritas to go to EDSA during the revolution that toppled Ferdinand Marcos.
Wool inherited the father's Royal Caribbean Jamaican pattie business and grew it so well that he was awarded by the Franchise Association of the Philippines, according to Borra.
Reyes branched out into other food businesses and his success there helped him pay for the masteral educations of his siblings.
“He was a happy-go-lucky guy before his father died. When he became the padre de pamilya everything changed. I saw him grow up as a man” recounts Borra.
Apart from getting an Industrial Economics degree from UA&P, Wool also graduated with a Masters in Entrepreneurship from the Asian Institute of Management.
A fundraising party in Bond Urban Pub pushed through on Monday even though Reyes passed away an hour or so after it began.
One of the Djs at the event was Green Archer Pat Bocobo. He informed me that he asked the family after Wool's passing if the event should push through and the family said yes. According to Bocobo, “Wool would have wanted it that way.”
Wool's personal motto was also the motto of Team Socceroo, and it was “Plenus Pectus” or “full heart” in Latin.
The Reyes family boys went to Southridge, an all-boys school associated with the Catholic movement Opus Dei. Southridge is known for teaching its boys Latin. Reyes' father was an Opus Dei member and his brother Michael is also active in the movement.
The term was the centerpiece of the fundraiser event, and attendees who paid P350 were given a sticker with a heart-shaped Football and the words “Plenus Pectus” and the hashtag #fullheartgoal.
“Wool believed that if you enter anything with a full heart, it's gonna be the best thing ever” says Borra.
“And he always believed in God's plan for him.”
I can't say I knew Wool well but I did play Futsal with him many times in Marcelo Green Village in Bicutan.
A few months ago we were at the Philippine Science High School field for practice with the PERX women's team. My last memory of Wool was of he and I practicing crosses to one another in the fading light.
Taped to the door of Bond Urban Pub on Monday was the following quote:
“Plenus Pectus: this is our motto. Two words. They mean 'full heart.' 100%. If you put your heart to anything, everything follows. Because we believe more, you see more, and people see that as well, and they get inspired.”
The quote is credited to “Wool Reyes, Team Manager, Sportsman, Soccer Player, Brother, Friend.”
You can visit http://www.fullheartgoal.com/ to learn more about Wool, Team Socceroo, and how to help his family in this difficult time.
According to Ritchie Gannaban, teams playing in the UFL on Tuesday, March 19 will be asked to wear a black tape or armband in memory of Wool. A moment of silence will likely be offered as well before kick off.
Many thanks to Champ Reyes, John-D Borra, and Gue David for their invaluable help in the creation of this article on such short notice.
A video about Wool and Team Socceroo is available on You Tube here.