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Off the Pitch with Mizuno’s Futbolistas

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Mizuno, a Japanese brand known for its innovative sports products and design, relaunched its website last May 5 to provide its users with better interface, a more modern look and access to #TeamMizuno news and updates.

Aside from its modern minimalist look, what stands out are the site’s easier product catalog navigation and social media integration to its digital properties, providing users an inclusive experience as part of the Mizuno family. In particular, the #TeamMizuno page dedicates itself featuring the stories behind Mizuno athletes and teams in their respective sports.

Tiebreaker Times caught up with two familiar faces of the Philippine National Team and #TeamMizuno football brand ambassadors—Marielle Benitez and Patrick Deyto—to know what stage they are in their football careers and their thoughts on the redesigned site.

Marielle Benitez, Philippine Malditas, Midfielder

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Off the Pitch with Mizuno's Futbolistas

Photo from MalditasPilipinasFutbol.com

As an athlete, what is currently happening with you?
Well, I’m currently in the transition. I’ve just finished my licensing course so I’m moving from playing into coaching already. I’ve taken in grassroots program so I’m coaching now for the UFL youth Forza FC. It’s under the Football Fanatics, their team, but we’re playing under Forza FC, second team of Archers United. I’m coaching their Under-11 Team now.

I still play football and currently work at the Philippine Women’s University as their Athletic Director so I constantly take care off all the other sports. I work for Balls Channel and [serve as] a sports analyst for ABS-CBN Sports + Action. I’m the football ambassador for Balls Channel so I did the World Cup coverage for them. I did that show with Boom [Gonzales] called Touchline, [which] had all the updates for the World Cup.

I last played in the Asian Football Championships that was last played in 2013 [before] they disbanded the team last year, cause they wanted to focus on the local development.

Why do you play the sport?
I’ve been playing the sport since back in high school. I’ve always been athletic but I think it was football where I really enjoyed myself. I started kasi at Woodrose and parang it was an excuse for my friends and I to hang out after school. Football was the only sports club that they had back then so I got into it.

I was into a lot of individual sports before that but when I got into football, I started enjoying myself and from there I moved on to playing for La Salle. After my first year in La Salle, I was taken into play for the Philippine Team already.

I played five years for La Salle for the UAAP. I was lucky because at that time, the team was pretty strong so during my five years (1999-2004), we won four championships out of the five. From that time derecho, I played for the Philippine Team already.

What have you learned about yourself playing the sport?
I can definitely say that the person that I am today is because of my experiences in sports. I’ve learned a lot of discipline, time management especially playing for the Philippine Team, playing for La Salle and then graduating with a double degree by then.

Parang you really had to fix your schedule and even up to now that I’ve been working for the university, for ABS-CBN. I also perform for the National Dance Company of the Philippines so everything that I do, it’s really because of the discipline that I’ve learned in football. I would always say that the decisions I make, how I deal with obstacles in life now is pretty much with the things that I’ve gone through and experienced because of sports.

What is your favorite Mizuno product?
I’ve always used the Wave Ignitus, the cleats. First time I tried it in 2010—the first edition that they came out with—I was converted to using it because it was snug and it has that extra bounce I would say, on the pitch. From that time, I’ve always used Wave Ignitus.

How does Mizuno help elevate your game?
Just because it’s snug, your feet doesn’t move inside the boot and it has better touch, a more solid touch on the ball. It gives me a lot of control especially because I’m a midfielder so I’m able to direct my kicks or passes accurately to my teammates, even to take free kicks.

What are your thoughts on the new Mizuno website?
I think it’s nice that they’re improving it. What I think I would like from the new website would be the #TeamMizuno because it gives us athletes a way to connect to the people who are following us or who are following the brand in terms of football, especially like when we post something that we really use the product.
We believe in the products. We believe in Mizuno and in the hashtag #NeverSettle. Just getting people to see that in this website, it’s an added avenue to connect with us and the brand.

Patrick Deyto, Philippine Azkals, GoalkeeperPhilippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Off the Pitch with Mizuno's Futbolistas

As an athlete, what is currently happening with you?
Right now I’m playing with my club football, Global FC. Global FC is under Dan Palami. When we have international duty with the Azkals [or] when I get called up, I join the training camp and the tournaments.

Right now, our training is everyday. I’m not coaching, just really playing right now with Global and Azkals. UFL season if I’m not mistaken, it will end some time in July or August cause right now, it’s the start of the UFL Cup. Then yung UFL League naman, we just finished the first round. We have the whole second round to play so it’s probably going to end some time in July or August.

For the Azkals, we have this World Cup qualifiers this June. I think our first game is June 11. It will be a home game against Bahrain. Training camp will probably start maybe June 1 until the game cause that’s international break so players based abroad will be able to come over and get together. Cause right now, local players and foreign-based players are doing their club duties.

We’re really most of the time with our clubs and we train every day, then have games most probably once a week. With the internationals, as I have said earlier, we have training camps and games [but] this is the only time that we get together in the international window.

The thing with Azkals, since we have less time together, we train twice a day. That’s why it’s training camp when we go to Bahrain for 10 days, just training. It’s twice a day. It’s tiring but you really have to do it cause there’s little time with the national team.

Why do you play the sport?
Initially I started because I was encouraged to join extra-curricular activities besides from school when I was very young so I chose football at that time. Then, from that time, it became a passion of mine like I never stopped. As the years passed by when you play football, you had more goals and suddenly you imagine yourself playing [on] the next level. After graduating, I wanted to play professionally and thankfully the UFL emerged.

What have you learned about yourself playing the sport?
Obviously, when you play football for a long time, you learn a lot about the game [from] the technical aspect. But aside from that, maybe I think the discipline. I think all of the athletes, if there’s one thing they learned, it’s discipline because if you’re an athlete, you have a specific lifestyle. It’s not like a normal person like you watch what you eat, you have to exercise and train everyday so I think it’s the discipline to stay in shape, be at the best possible state physically.

What is your favorite Mizuno product?
The shoes I use now is the Morelia. That’s what I use. That’s the shoe that I’ve been wearing since the Suzuki Cup, because before I also wore the Wave Ignitus but I shifted to Morelia just this past December, and I’ve been using that ever since.

How does Mizuno help elevate your game?
The best thing I like about it is it’s light. I think that’s the lightest shoe I have ever worn. With that Morelia brand, there’s two kinds: the Morelia Neo and there’s also the handmade one. The handmade one is a higher version of it, which is only available in other countries. In here, it’s still a top of the line shoe but as I said, there’s the higher one, the handmade one which I prefer sana to use if it’s available here. Since it’s not available here, I use the Morelia Neo. It’s still a good shoe. It’s light and the leather’s also soft so you get a good touch for the handmade one.

What are your thoughts on the new Mizuno website?
I think when they were showing the website, it looked presentable. I think it’s easy to use and I just hope it stays updated because the last website, I kept coming back visiting the website occasionally and sometimes it’s not updated. I would see old athletes there so hopefully the new website stays updated. I think it’s good.

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