MANILA (28 May 2011) – Marquez Melissa Chris De Jesus is glad that her full-time job as a special education teacher in the Philippines helps her appreciate discipline more in her work as a national football coach.
She also wonders sometimes at how some of her mentally disabled students can perform better in the disciplinary department than some of her football chargers.
“The football players you are coaching are considered to be normal, so once in a while I can’t help but think why some of them are behaving not as well as my special needs students at the school,” she told the-afc.com
Melissa is one of 18 young coaches from around Asia being groomed under the AFC Project Future Batch 2010 Coaches programme.
A special education teacher for the past three years, Melissa says her understanding of the behaviours of special kids at the school helps her train her youth football players, a second work role where she finds equally great fulfilment.
The 25 year-old said: “Football is not just about techniques and tactics on the field. It’s also about being good people in other areas of life because what you are off the field is also what you are on the field.
“If you don’t lead a disciplined life outside the game, you will carry your bad attitude to the field. You will be late for training. You’ll have uncontrolled and unproductive temper problem.
“Once I see indiscipline in my players, I remember my special kids back at the school and think ‘This has got to stop! This is no way to be a good football player!” said the ‘C’ licensed-holder coach.
Melissa, who played for her country in the AFC Women’s Asian Cups 2006 and 2008, feels her work at the school also helps her plan her football lessons and implement them.
“The same process and methodology applies at the school and on the field. You use your knowledge and skills to plan your lessons. Then you implement them and adjust them according to the needs and situations,” said Melissa, who is the Philippines’ national U-17 girls’ goalkeeper coach.