Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why Pasargad’s Reza Ataei is good for the UFL

Why Pasargad’s Reza Ataei is good for the UFL
by rick olivares

Sorry, guys. I’m loving what Reza Ataei is bringing to the UFL. He’s a good goalkeeper and a bad or good actor/soldier depending on which side you root for.

The man is oozing with self-confidence and I can appreciate that. The falling down as if suddenly shot by a sniper? His running out to defend teammates? His hanging on the crossbar and swinging from it? Man, I love it. This is what exactly the league needs – characters. We can’t all have pretty boys running around. That reads – B O R I N G.

When I see Reza Ataei do all of that he’s like Kaya’s Saba Garmaroudi on amphetamines. Bwahahaha! He's not a villain but more of an anti-hero. One they will not put on any Azkals-laden television plug. But he sure does spice up the match. Even his goal celebration is fantastic unlike those who attempt to dance but who have two left feet.

After Angelo Marasigan booted in that goal all the way from Vito Cruz, Ataei rushed to the middle of the pitch then knelt. He signaled to Marasigan to place his “golden” boot atop his knee then shined it in one of the best goal celebrations we’ve seen in the league.

For all his antics, he is man enough to accept his mistakes on the pitch. During the recent PFF Smart National Club Championship semifinals match with Green Archers United, Ataei saved a shot from Tommy Escoltero, one of three he successfully parried away. Ataei thought it was all over and he ran to the sidelines taking off his jersey. A no-no since to his and his teammates’ horror, the shooutout wasn’t over. He was sent off along with another teammate effectively dooming their finals stint. He was so disconsolate afterwards.

In the UFL opener last Tuesday, Reza held on to the nets for a few seconds looking absolutely devastated after Global’s Ben Starosta headed in the insurance goal that effectively handed them the three full points.  

I hear the ball boys and some officials wish that someone would score a goal on him “para manahimik na siya”. Sure why not? After all, that is the objective of the game – to score as many goals as possible for the win.

Is he the only ham actor in the league? There’s former Global goalie Sylvain Etoundi who was Ataei before Atei came to the UFL. Etoundi would routinely fall to the pitch even with no players around him. He would feign injury or being the recipient of some elbow. He would drop to the pitch as if shot by a sniper (where have I heard that before?).

When Angel Guirado used to get knocked down, he’d roll over as if he were thrown out of a car window after a high-speed five-car smash up. Global's Roland Sadia also pulled the same stunts in last year’s UFL Cup.

There are lots of other players falling at the slightest bit of contact and sometimes they fool the refs and the fans but most of the time they don’t.

It’s isn’t only the acting. There are other characters.

There’s that Korean player from General Trias International who dyes his hair blonde ala Mark Caguioa.

There's a player who wears women's underwear because it's more comfortable for him (that's what he says).

There’s former Nomads head coach Mick Denison who once (in)famously coached a match in flip-flops.

There’s a ref who is so card happy that he hands them out as if they were going out of style (and thus earns the ire of everyone in the league).

I love it when Global head coach Brian Reid yells, “Hey, you!” When he does that I think of Suggs of British ska band Madness doing the opening line of “One Step Beyond.” When I asked the Global players if they understood what he tries to tell them during a game, the unanimous answer was – 20% of it. In fact the other day, he came on the touchline looking snazzy in a Global jacket. When it got a little too humid and so he put on a small football players vest that was absurdly too small for him. And it prompted one official to remark that “he looks like Winnie the Pooh”. But I love Reid with his deep Scottish brogue booming out instructions, reminders, and words of anger. “Hey, you!” I love it.

If you say that Reza’s antics have no place in the UFL then I disagree. What the UFL does not need are teams that play dirty. Now don’t be an idiot and feign ignorance.

But why stop there. The game is populated by all-universe whiners, coaches who will bust a blood vessel sometime in the near future, players who threaten referees with harm, cheap shot artists and footballers with a bad bone in their body. If a card or two were given to all these rogues then we wouldn’t have enough players to play a game.

The referees, totally imperfect as they are, well, you’ll just have to trust them to caution the erring players. And Ataei will be judged by them for his antics. In the meantime, he’s never really hurt anybody but amp up a match’s intensity level.

If he’s the Calvin Abueva of the UFL then I am fine with it. I don’t know about you guys but I am looking forward to the next Pasargad match not just because of their capacity for good football but also because of Reza Ataei’s showmanship (or lack of depending on which side of the pitch you are).


Read this on why the UFL is a great teleserye for you to follow


  1. Part of me wished you should've given this more thought before publishing. Way to go, to promote cheating & play-acting. Your reasoning of 'everyone else does it anyway' is laughable. That makes it acceptable?

    Even the 'he's never really hurt anybody' jibe is comedy. Entertainment? This isn't the circus where we need to laugh or be amused, this is organized football.

    But then again, you idolize someone like Suarez, so i'm not surprised.

    1. First of all, I am not promoting diving or acting. Where did I write that? As I said, players get carded for that. Furthermore, players dive and act all the time and in every game. It is up to the ref to assess what is real and what is not. Furthermore, Reza has a bad thigh injury. That is why he keeps falling to the pitch. he is playing hurt. Reza's may put too much mustard than need be so I'll let the refs deal with it. In the meantime, it's good for laughs. Now I don't idolize Suarez but I certainly understand his motivations. And my fave LFC player is Gerrard and that is obvious on my blog. Your comprehension on the other hand could use a lot of work, dumbass.

    2. Someone throws you a curveball, you fight back with 'DUMBASS'? Resorting to calling people names hahaha. Napikon ka naman kaagad, Rick. Please don't tell me this is the first time you've been criticized ever? No wonder, no big media outfit has hired you.

      For that childish jab, here's one bit of advice, stop wanting to be the Azkals' media officer again. They never really liked you. Yes, we still remember how desperate you were. Pitiful.

    3. first of all, yes, maybe I shouldn't have responded that way but I will apologize for it. The least that you can do is be man enough to say who you are since you seem to be familiar with certain on goings. And who said no big media outfit has hired me? i write for ABS CBN,, I have a day job that pays 3x better than what the media people get. I have the best of both worlds. It is not my ambition to be hired by a big media outfit. That will only hurt my flexibility. As for the national team? Really. I never applied for Media Officer position. It was given not once but several times even after I was replaced. The only one I applied for was the PFF ME position that I didn't get and never went to anyone.If anyone didn't like me it was the team management and the PFF because they want people who will kiss ass all the time, look the other way when something goes wrong and cover up certain things. That's how you survive in that atmosphere. You'd be surprised at who I am working with and who has asked me to help manage them. Desperate? Sorry, man. I have moved beyond that and don't need it to be able to write. Next time come out in the open rather than hide behind the internet.

  2. I'm irritated by those antics. It delays and destroys the flow of the game. Mas Ok si Pineda kay Reza. If he want to act better go to showbiz than play football.

  3. Wrong Rick. Very wrong. This guy should not be anywhere near a football pitch. What he did to Izo Elhabib could have started world war 3, this after disgusting play acting throughout the game.The game is far from perfect and as I have said for a long time the best cheats unfortunately win. This does not justify blatant play acting. Watch what happens when Pasagard are winning and he does it. There will be a massive brawl. Its not right and it has to be stopped. Quickly.

    1. Coach, as I have said, I will let the refs deal with that. Football brawls start with reckless tackles and dirty play. The last football brawl that happened was in the last Alaska Cup and was between Stallion and Diliman over tackles and rough play. You mean Reza is more dangerous to the game and the league than the blatant dirty play of some teams? I seem to recall your Nomads teams getting it on with the military teams. If Reza will be carded, suspended then it will happen. The pull on Izzo was wrong and stupid. But he is more often doing his antics inside the box.

  4. Reza's antics is far too obvious and animated compared to your examples, those three are all from Global Fc, and it makes me think that this is a BS personal attack? I respect you a lot sir, but sorry not this time. I don't find Reza's antics good for UFL.

    1. No worries, man. Agree his antics are OA. I think it's a given. I'd rather have the refs assess the situation. As for Global. It is not an ATTACK on Global. I like their team and enjoy the way they play. As I have written time and again, they are the CLASS of Phil club football. Pointing out something doesn't mean one is against. And I could list something about every club but that is belaboring the obvious. Reza pays for his antics. And he will pay for them as he continues them. In the meantime, I think it adds to the theater.

  5. Don't you think Reza is a good goalkeeper plus the antics , well in my opinion he is. Don't let him get too serious in the game for it will only make him the BEST.

  6. I enjoyed the GAU vs Stallions and Pachanga vs Kaya game lastnight because they played real football not like the Pasargad team who wants to be actors than footballers. Pasargad is a very talented team but their antics are very annoying. If they play straight up football, they would trouble any team in the UFL.

  7. I am a fan of Pasargad and had followed their team from last years league till now. I have seen the improvement of the team , and in my opinion they would pose a threat to any team in this season.
    For what Reza did , let the officials decide and be a judge for it. For me I enjoyed the game, same as the opinion of Mr. Olivares.
    I Think the UFL League Organizers should focus on more important matters than Reza's acting.

  8. maybe a bit less acting and more playing football hahaha sorry medyo na-off lang ako doon sa semis game with GAU, halatang they were milking the clock to get to penalties... but i still support PSG my cousin plays there :)