REALLY? You’re not a football fan?” Misagh Bahadoran, one of the country’s most popular football stars asked me in wide-eyed wonder. I was quick to defend myself saying I grew up a basketball girl but found football interesting.
With thousands of followers across all social media, Misagh is as charming as people say he is. Speaking with a thick accent that most people find appealing, he is also quick-witted, and refreshingly honest. Having been surrounded by athletes my entire life, straightforward honesty can be quite disengaging and intriguing.
The 28-year-old Filipino-Persian player first caught the attention of Filipino football fans in 2011 right smack in the middle of the sport’s steady rise in the country. His story, however, is an unlikely one.
Born in Pampanga to a Filipina, Misagh was raised in Iran and has been playing football since he was six years old. Football was and continues to be his main passion; however, it took a back seat when his father urged him to complete a degree before pursuing the sport full time.
Heeding his father’s advice, Misagh took up Dentistry at Centro Escolar University (his two older siblings have also taken medical related courses), and focused on futsal first by being part of the Philippine Futsal team. His skills led him to be the two time top scorer in Southeast Asia.
Staying true to his promise despite the many offers to join the national team, Misagh only tried out for the Philippine Azkals the day after graduation. He scored one of the only two spots available on the roster during that year. He has long been known for his quickness on the field and his hard work (the trait that he is most proud of).
For Misagh, who is now the captain of Global FC, the growth of football in the country has been astounding. “There used to be a time when we would pay to play football. I never imagined that football would be televised here and have leagues of its own.” He continues to hope for its continuous growth in the country, even suggesting that schools should include football in their programs to encourage more children to take up the sport.
What’s engaging about him, however, isn’t limited to his talent and skills but in how he genuinely interacts with people. Known as the nicest guy on the team, Misagh’s demeanor of being friendly, hospitable, and kind reflects his Filipino roots. His candidness easily made the conversation enjoyable going from serious topics to more personal ones rather quickly.
He was a no holds barred kind of guy in a way that was instantly refreshing.
There was one question he was shy to answer though and that was when he was asked to describe himself off the field. He said his friends would do a better job of doing so. His long time manager and our common friend, Patrick Ace Bright, was quick to say that Misagh is generous and surprisingly so, intelligent.
Without meaning to stereotype athletes, Misagh’s depth proved that he was more than just your typical jock. With more prodding, Misagh said he’s often described as talkative and “makulit” by those closest to him.
And while he refused to go on, the group concluded that the best word to use to describe the man is charismatic, and with the twinkle in his piercing blue eyes, it’s safe to say that he agreed.
For everything Misagh, follow him on Instagram and Twitter @misagh_9.