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Watch Filipino play in Titans team

Eugene Amano - No. 54 in the Tennessee “Titans” teamWASHINGTON D.C. – If you are a football aficionado, watch for No. 54 in the Tennessee “Titans” team who plays center and left guard. He is Eugene Amano, the first Manila-born pure Filipino player in the US national football league.

Eugene, 27, the son of a Filipino nurse and a Filipino US navy man who was born in Sampaloc, Manila and raised in San Diego stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs more than 300 pounds. He has grown so big growing up that his parents were themselves surprised. They used to call “peewee.”

This season Eugene, who often plays the entire four quarters, got a raise in salary, from a little over $1 million in ‘08 to more than $1.6 million this year.

He recently told the “Filipino Press” that he gets occasional home-cooked Filipino food from his mom if he goes home to Rancho Bernardo where his parents reside. “I definitely eat as much Filipino food as I can when I’m home, but when I’m in Tennessee I only cook chicken adobo because that’s the only dish I know how to cook myself.”

He said it’s really hard to be a football player because everyone is judged by the team and other people every week about his performance. “You’re constantly judged on how you do from week to week.”

He told the media that “One week you can be the hero then the next people want you gone. It’s all about getting the job done and doing it all the time. Off the field, being a professional athlete means we must hold ourselves to a higher standard and that everything we do is magnified. All the time you hear about guys getting in trouble and things like that, so sometimes you just have to know not to put yourself in vulnerable situations.”

Since early childhood, he has always aimed at becoming a professional athlete. While in Rancho Bernardo High School he excelled in basketball, track and football. When a scout saw footage of him playing center in football, he was offered a scholarship in Southeast Missouri State University. Since then he received many honors, including the first team All American by the American Football Coaches Association, the NFL Draft Report and Football Gazette.

A graduated with a degree in criminal justice, Amano is setting his on being in the criminal justice system after his football stint.
He said “I really couldn’t see myself doing anything else, so I’m really lucky I have been given the opportunity to do what love for a living, and that’s play football.”

Amano is very proud of his Filipino heritage. He displays this feeling in his T-shirt line with “Amano Island Strength.” He said he is using his position to promote his T-shirt business venture. He told media: “The position I am in is very unique and I feel I can use it to benefit the Filipino community. I started the T-shirt line not only to promote my culture and roots, but also as a way to give back. I plan on donating a percentage of the T-shirt sales to my upcoming foundation that will benefit the struggling Filipinos back home. I think that I have been so blessed to be in my position, and I want to give back to those in need.”

Several months ago, Amano had dinner with Manny Pacquiao in Los Angeles so we could establish a relationship that would help open doors for us to do more charity work in the Philippines together.

“It’s hard to believe sometimes that I do this for a living because I have so much fun. Growing up, I had no one to relate to as far as being a successful Filipino athlete. Kids now can look to me and hopefully follow my footsteps and possibly lead to more Filipino athletes coming up in the three major American sports leagues.”

Athletic prowess runs in the Amano family. Eugene’s brother, Fred, has found success in football playing in the Arena Football League.
“He’s playing for the Boise Burn,” Amano says. “He’s really enjoyed my success thus far and is one of my biggest critics. After every game I speak with him and we go over the game, and he lets me know what I did well at and what I need to improve in.”
For more information on Eugene Amano or his clothing line, visit EugeneAmano.com or www.myspace.com/eugeneamanoapparel.

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