Marcelino García Toral

Lessons for education, football and life in Gijón

Marcelino starred in a very spirited discussion with Matías Somolinos, a professor who has overcome a severe illness. Both share a passion for teaching – each one in their area – and a love of football in general and Real Sporting in particular since they were little.

A few days before the Christmas holidays, Marcelino García Toral participated in an exciting colloquium in Gijón. Under the title “Training, sport and resilience: 3 pillars for life”, the coach starred in an extensive and in-depth conversation with Matías Somolinos, a professor of History, Geography and English whose life was changed by cancer diagnosed in 2016.

  After the presentations by Marcelino and Matías, both sat down to share life and improvement experiences. The event, promoted by Fundación Real Sporting de Gijón-Marea Rojiblanca, ImagoSport & Fundación Hogar de San José, brought together 150 people in the Vanguardia Building. Germán Argüelles, director of the Real Sporting foundation, moderated the discussion and highlighted the “ingenious connection” developed between coach and teacher.

  “We can win titles, be known… but everything Matías has done is incredible, a lesson for everyone. There are values that society has to remember but that we rarely put into practice. Matías, you have my respect and admiration,” said Marcelino, about the teacher’s experience with his disease, a metastatic ‘stage IV’ renal cell carcinoma originating in the right kidney. After nine operations and five treatments, Matías has his cancer under control. The process of these years, loaded with ups and downs, contains many vital lessons. He frames his recovery in a unique formula: COF (“Confidence/companionship, optimism and faith”).

Marcelino’s career, on another level, has also had its curves. For example, the knee injury that stopped his career as a professional footballer at the age of 29. He did not imagine what he expected in his jump to the bench. “I never thought I would go this far. I am not one to live on dreams because that allows you not to put pressure on yourself or suffer disappointments. Every day you must give your best, and that is what I try,” he acknowledged. In this line, Matías influenced: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day after day”.