Playing the Field

Nate Burkey of the Azkals

Who wouldn’t know the Azkals? During one of their visits to Tacloban, 8 Mag was able to have a short interview with someone in the team who had had Waray origin. His name is Nate.

Natahniel George Payos Burkey, “Nate” to his friends, is born to a Filipina mother who is a native of Palompon, Leyte, and an American father. His mother, Manileña payos, moved to the U.S. after college where she met her husband, John Burkey, in Virginia where Nate and his brother grew up.

At the age 26 and with the height of 6’2, Nate is currently playing as midfielder for the Azkals. It was his dream to become a football player for his mother’s country, which brought him to the Philippines in May this year. After sending a couple of e-mails to the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) about his intent to play, he was finally given the chance to try out and be part of the National team. Nate made history as he headed in a goal at the 50 th minute in the first leg of the Azkals against Sri Lanka- the country’s first goal in a world cup qualifier in 10 years.

Asked if he is planning to leave the country anytime soon, he replied, “ I am in the Philippines living out my dream to play football. I am happy here… I will stay here for a while. I have no plans to leave anytime soon.

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