Sports

unpaid wages, what he did for two years and the reason for his return

2023-01-11

The sweet scent of Cabañas neighborhood in San Pedro Sula he is still the same as that guy who in December 2010 reached the top of national football, which, a decade later, forced him to hang up his boots for two seasons, but in 2023 he has dusted off.

gerson daniel Rhodes Leiva He has returned to the fields of professional football, yes, that same player who in 2012 led us with his goals to the dream of the London Olympic Games, a tournament that due to injury, a conflict that became constant in his career to the point of turn it off, left it out.

That moment was just as hard as the one he lived through in the middle of the pandemic, a 2020 to be forgotten where he did not receive a salary from his former team Honduras Progreso (2019-2020), something that made him say “no more suffering” and put a pause on his career that at the beginning promised to be brilliant.

Gerson Rodas cared for DIEZ from his parents' house in Barrio Cabañas.  PHOTO: Moises Valenzuela

The Lone FC of the Promotion alloy is the team where gerson decided to start his second football stage, which does not rule out that it culminates in a retirement in the place where everything was born: the Royal Spain.

More than 24 months inactive motivated that Rhodes return to doing what he loved the most, a love that was tarnished by conflicts suffered in his last club, as well as in the Platensewhere he played in 2018 and left since they did not pay him four months of salary.

“I have the intention of playing again because I needed football. After the upset I had, now I feel more excited to take advantage of what I like the most and what I know how to do best ”, began by saying the national champion Real España and Olimpia in an interview with TEN from the comfort of the home where he grew up.

“I chose the Lone FC because, in addition to having many acquaintances in the institution, its president (Alven Lone) is a good person. I was training for a week with Oro Verde, because we live in the same neighborhood with the team coach, Carlos Tábora, who pulled me there, but I rejected signing with them since the trip to Santa Rita, Yoro was very long and exhausting ( 1:10 hours), while Lone is in San Pedro Sula”, he commented.

Gerson Rodas chose Lone FC to return to the soccer fields.

“No team called me National League, only second hand, because I was stopped for a while and that takes its toll. The truth is that my goal right now is to be champion with Lone FC to be able to ascend to the First Division, play in the elite of the country. I have a lot to work on, there will be no more withdrawals until the final one, ”he added.

Rhodes He is ready to take his first steps in football after a break between his personal business and having fun at the USA. “They say that talent is not lost, although physically I have to get in shape, it’s not that I’m fat, because I’ve always kept fit by doing the gym,” he said.

– THE INTERVIEW –

Did you decide to return because your previous life bored you?

Yes, I feel so. Shortly after my retirement, I was training with former player Allan Lanín, since we live in nearby neighborhoods. Apart from the fact that my mother (Iris Liliana Leiva) and my brother (Samy Rodas) told me to play again since I was wasting myself, they encouraged me to go back, which I consider to be a good decision.

Do you regret leaving?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no, because I spent with my family, before I didn’t even spend birthdays with them. You shouldn’t regret it, sometimes you can take the bad moments, but now I’ve reconsidered and I want to play again.

What forced you to retire?

It was when I left Honduras Progreso that I said ‘it wouldn’t happen again’ because of what I suffered. Even before arriving in Honduras I was going to retire, because in Platense (2018) something very ugly happened to me when they left me owing four months of salary and I never fought them, because I wanted to continue playing and they only gave me the settlement to come to Progress. Imagine the expense that I had since I traveled from San Pedro Sula to Puerto Cortés every day, as well as with Kevin Hernández (porter) who was traveling with me and the same thing happened to him. One has needs and they did not put themselves in the place of the player who has a family.

Iris Liliana Leiva is Olimpia at heart, but she also loves Real España very much because of how she treated her son Gerson.

Where did you support yourself financially?

From my savings, I have known how to manage my money well and that is the reason why I supported myself even when they owed me salaries in El Progreso and Platense. Many factors happened in football as teammates who arrived at training without having breakfast-lunch and it was complicated because the team would not perform like this.

Back wages got you fired?

The truth is that yes, what good was it going to do for me to continue playing without having a salary. The money is necessary. Hurricanes Eta and Iota damaged many of our colleagues and all were conspicuous by their absence. Only one teammate had a great gesture of having to give basic baskets to those affected, which makes me think that there are still good footballers.

At what point did you hit rock bottom?

Something very strong happened to me. I had the blessing of playing in two great teams (Real España and Olimpia), and when we trained I had a champion mentality since the others had infected us with that thought, there was healthy competition within the team, both in Real España and Olimpia. Later, when you fall into a small team, you see the reality that many players have suffered. It demotivated me to go from playing in Tegucigalpa to the problems I had in said clubs.

How hard was your past to force you to hang up your cleats?

Thanks to the support of my family I did not have to go hungry or because of economic problems, but what affected me was seeing the suffering of my colleagues since we do not deserve to be treated badly. In Platense and El Progreso they were the hardest moments of my career, but I feel that this can change for the better, although local football has declined. In Honduras Progreso I would not play again for that reason, because when they treated me badly once, why go again, they can even treat you worse.

When exactly did you decide to retire?

When the tournament stopped due to the pandemic. We had not been paid for three months and the confinement arrived and even so we continued training. The player is only paid for the duration of the tournament and then they cancel it, from there to there there was no money, in all of 2020 there were no payments. That is why the player must use his tokens well when they receive them.

Gerson Rodas is dedicated to selling cars with his brother.

What did you used to do during your break as a footballer?

Always training, in the gym, I even took my sister and she became addicted to it. I also went on vacations where my brothers in the United States, passing from one state to another, I have tried to lead my life healthily. The worst thing was not playing.

Have you been playing in the United States?

Yes, why am I going to lie to you, my friends invited me and I went.

Is it true that playing in bureaucratic leagues is better economically than being a professional soccer player in Honduras?

The truth yes. Payments vary according to the arrangements you make. Lots of soccer players from all over the world play there, the bureaucratic level is very good, First Division players from all over Central America, as well as from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal and Spain.

Is it true that you were working in the United States?

No, you cannot work since I have a tourist visa. That is why I had as little as possible left, because I began to dedicate myself to buying cars at auctions. With my brother we bring cars, we fix them and then we sell them. In the middle of the pandemic I started to raffle it off by buying two cars and then reselling them. I’m doing relatively well, currently I’m doing it because I like it, I’m always aware of auctions to buy cars. It’s not that I’m going to become a millionaire with it, but it helps me to help my family.

Do you think you could have had a better career than what you got?

The truth is, maybe if I hadn’t had the injuries, but that’s the fate that befell me. I managed to be champion several times, I played in the biggest team in the country (Olimpia), I represented Honduras, which is something that is priceless. Without the injuries, everything would have been different, like fulfilling a dream that was to go to the Olympics, where I did go, but I didn’t play.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve been through?

The saddest thing was my two injuries (cruciate ligament in both legs), which are the most complicated for a player. There were days when I didn’t feel like leaving the house because I was unmotivated without doing anything.

At the age of 32, midfielder Gerson Rodas decides to return to professional football after two inactive seasons.

Do you still feel very sad when you remember that injury that prevented you from going to the Olympics?

Yes, I still remember very well that when I was in London and I watched my teammates train, I asked myself ‘what would I be paying for’, I only had to walk since I had barely had surgery for a month. The same thing happened in the concentration hotel room.

To close, I would like to know if you are watching Real España, your first team.

Of course, I hope that with Julio “Palomo” Rodríguez things will be different. I had him as a teammate at Real España and as a coach at Honduras, he is a type of law. I have always talked to him, even when he was in Uruguay, we have a good friendship. Let’s see what happens with fate, if the opportunity arises, it would be nice to be able to retire at Real España.

What do you think of the Machine today? They are five years of drought.

It’s complicated, I also experienced it in 2010 when it took us three years to be champion again. Hopefully soon they realize the potential they have, it’s a great team. About whether the equipment is mishandled? I wouldn’t know how to tell you since it is also the player’s fault, as well as managers, since, if the objective is not met, something goes wrong, and for 10 tournaments to be a long time.

What should Real España change?

They would have to have an exact base in which the player who arrives adapts, because that’s what happened to us with Mario Zanabria (champions in 2010), we were all young and after enduring so much, the one who was arriving was joining the group and so on we were able to be champions. Who is not going to want to play for Real España if enormous footballers have passed through the team? Some players don’t know how blessed they are to be there because other teams have a hard time.

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