Know Your Sparks: Anton Del Rosario

Joined Sparks: August 2014
Achievements: PFF Smart National Club Championship Winner, Philippine National Team Player

No stranger to the fans of Philippine football, Anton Del Rosario is one of the most popular faces in the sport. A vital cog of the Philippine National Team that ushered in the explosion of the sport in 2010, the defender, along with Phil and James Younghusband, form a trio of players that will never be forgotten in the history of the country’s progression in football.

Although born in San Francisco in the United States, Del Rosario was already a constant presence in the local football scene before he made the permanent move to the Philippines six years ago.

“I moved back here in 2009, but I’ve been back and forth for the last 20 years of my life. I’d say the initial invitation to play in the Philippine National Team was back in 2001, and I had my debut in 2004 – I’m an old man!”

Before his move to the Loyola Meralco Sparks, Anton was considered the heart of rival club Kaya FC, where he played for almost 15 years. When he made the switch, it’s safe to say there were more than a few eyebrows raised. But with his brother (Armand Del Rosario) now the manager of Loyola, the move was an easier decision to make.

“As I was growing up Kaya was always a family oriented team and coming over here it’s the same feeling,” said Del Rosario in an exclusive interview with One Meralco Sports. “I feel very close to the guys over here. I knew a lot of the guys before coming out to the team, as well as the coach – I played for him in 2010 as well. And then there’s my brother. He’s managing the team, so I know that he’ll look after me and my well-being. Everything is great.”

Although already close with many of the Sparks veterans, Anton Del Rosario is closest to Eddie Mallari, a longtime teammate at Kaya who made the move to the Sparks at the same time.

“I’m closest to Eddie. Ed and I did plenty of years together in Kaya and we transferred over here together. And James ofcourse. He was like my roommate every time we went abroad training for the national team – so Eddie and James would be the closest ones. As well as Anthony (Putrus-Schnell), we played college ball together, so the three of those guys.”

When asked on his expectations this year, Del Rosario was expectedly upbeat about the team’s chances, especially with the club boasting who he feels is the best coach in the country.

“I don’t expect nothing less than winning everything. We have the team to do it. We’re good enough and we train hard enough. We have experience with coach Simon [McMenemy] – who for me is the best coach in the league. We have players such as Phil and James [Younghusband], people like Anthony [Putrus-Schnell) and Max [Wright] and them, who they brought over from abroad to complete the team. Coming off the Smart Nationals with the win, that shows where we’re at and where we have to be throughout the league.”

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