Football: Priority for United City to get Schröck back with renamed club, says GM

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Jul 24 2020 04:35 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2020 06:04 PM

Negotiations to have Azkals team captain Stephan Schröck playing for United City FC, formerly known as Ceres-Negros FC before new ownership stepped in to buy the club, are still ongoing, a source with knowledge of the talks said.

“Stephan is still under negotiations with the new management but the talks are progressing,” a source said of the gifted midfielder, who has had a storied career with the Bacolod-based multi-titled club formerly owned by businessman and football enthusiast Leo Rey Yanson.

MMC Sportz Asia chief executive officer Eric Gottschalk, who brokered the deal, issued a statement Thursday that a new group is taking over the management and ownership of the club, renaming it United City, although specifics of the transaction were not made public.

Gottschalk, whose sports-oriented events management and promotions outfit is based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, announced that “16 of the 21” players were being retained by the new group of investors without naming who these former Ceres-Negros members were.

The MCC Sportz Asia head was a marketing partner of Global FC, which also competes in the Philippines Football League, but resigned from the club early this year, according to the same source. 

Patrick Ace Bright, who was retained as general manager of United City, has made it known that among his priorities was retaining the services of Schröck, who has been the linchpin of the Busmen in their successful campaigns in both local and overseas club competitions.

“He (Schröck) is the undisputed leader of the team and provides a lot of qualities that has made Ceres-Negros FC very successful,” Bright said.

The source said Schröck, who is now in Germany, has been receiving offers from abroad but was open to renewing his productive partnership with his former teammates.

His latest Facebook post showed he is currently identified with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, a club that currently plays in the German Bundesliga (First Division). He played for the Hoffe from 2012-2013.

Born in Schweinfurt, Germany, the 33-year-old midfield maestro not only has been stellar in international play with the Azkals but also a standout in his three-year stint with the Busmen.

Schröck actually had his first outing with Ceres-Negros FC in 2016 on loan from his German club Greuther Furth during the United Football League. The Busmen placed second to Global in the UFL that season.

After formally signing up with Ceres-Negros in 2017, the Cebuano-speaking booter spearheaded Ceres-Negros in its splendid run of dominance in the PFL on top of playing a vital cog in its accomplishments in club tournaments abroad.

He orchestrated the Busmen’s banner year in 2019 when they completed a golden double in sweeping league honors, their third in a row, and the Cup trophy, the Copa Paulino Alcantara.

For these achievements, Schröck earned the PFL’s Golden Ball Award and was also the Philippine Sportswriters Association Football Player of the Year in 2019.

In recognition of his international and local football accomplishments, Schrock was selected in 2019 by the ASEAN Football Federation’ in the AFF “Best XI” in awards held in Hanoi in November. 

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