As Zach Banzon officially takes a step back from playing professional football, WPG wants to honor Zach’s achievements both on and off the pitch. To properly do so, we got to sit down with Zach and discuss his thoughts on his career, sustainability, the power of football, and his plans for his life beyond the pitch.
On the Pitch:
On the pitch, Zach’s professional career began by rising through the ranks of the Kaya FC Academy Elite Program as a goalkeeper. After seven years of proving himself to be a fierce competitor, Zach ended his career on a high by helping his team win their first-ever Philippines Football League championship, and securing a spot in the AFC Champions League. For his outstanding performance, he was awarded the PFL Golden Glove and the title of the league’s best goalkeeper for the 22/23 season.
Still determined to implement sustainable sports and culture in the Philippines, Zach is now off to Europe to gain useful experience that he’ll be able to bring back to his home country. Inspired by the Qatar 2022 Men’s World Cup, Zach will be getting his master’s in Sports Ethics and Integrity with the aim to better understand how he can implement sustainability, particularly within sports tournaments and operations.
Off the pitch:
As both a player and an activist, Zach’s involvement in WPG was a full-circle moment for him as he was always interested in the environment and sustainability. However, it wasn’t until he learned about Hector Bellerin and Morten Thorsby’s engagement that he wanted to better use his unique platform.
Following in the footsteps of his heroes, Zach has already gained a wealth of knowledge about sustainability and leadership. Aside from being a WPG Ambassador, Zach is a project manager for Project Liwanag PH, an initiative that brings solar panels to indigenous communities in the Philippines. Having worked on the ground, Zach believes that this has helped him better shape his understanding of sustainability, thus making him a stronger leader.
Solar Panels from Project Liwang PH
“We don’t want to solve the problems of the community for them; rather, we want to empower the community to solve their problems on their own.
I believe it’s important to note that the path to sustainability won’t look the same for everyone, and it’s not about being perfect. I hope to help others understand their own paths and make the most out of it, and hopefully by doing this they enjoy being more sustainable as well!”
Zach has also gotten to make use of his spotlight by sharing his perspective and experience on climate action within the Philippines for the BBC World Service’s “The Climate Question” Podcast.
As Zach transitions to life on the other side of the pitch, he hopes to see football clubs and players lead by example. In the Philippines, he thinks that football can make an impact in creating a more sustainable culture around single-use plastic.
“I’d like to see more football clubs and players making sustainable choices in their day-to-day routines! I think this will inspire a lot of fans to do the same. In the Philippines, for example, there is a culture of buying and using single-use items – buy enough for that day only to repeat it the next.
I think if local football clubs and players can raise awareness and do away from this habit, then we can inspire fans and the children in the academies to do the same, then inspire their families, and so on”.
In conclusion, Zach’s profound impact extends beyond the football pitch. His dedication to the game and sustainability makes him an ideal ambassador for WPG and also a remarkable activist. We take pride in having Zach on the team and can’t wait to see what he achieves throughout this exciting new chapter in his life!