Loyola Football Club, particularly its Youth Academy, continues to push forth with their progression in the competitive front as it sets to join in the Philam 7s Football League Youth.
Focused mainly in the 9-a-side and 11-a-side competitions, the youth teams of Loyola FC Youth Academy are currently preparing for the rigors and demands of the 7-a-side format as evidenced by an early evening training session before the presser that was held in Libis last October 11, 2019.
Coach Roxy Dorlas, former national team player with 10 caps and who is currently spearheading the club’s youth programs, has been overseeing the required fine tunings that his participating teams need ahead of their return to competing in the format of the league that former Azkals Anton Del Rosario founded.
“[The style of play is going to be] a lot quicker, there’s going to be as lot of [off-the-ball] movement, we should move the ball a lot quicker [and exhibit] quicker decision-making.”
Loyola’s participation in the 7’s Football League Youth will be on multiple fronts as they will field four teams in different categories, U9, U11, U13, and U15. Each division will have eight participating clubs or teams with the whole campaign set to unfold in five Sundays beginning on October 13, 2019.
All matches in the 7’s Football League Youth will be held in McKinley Hill Stadium.
Loyola FC Youth are also approaching the final leg of their on-going Provincial Tour, currently one of the biggest initiatives they pulled off, this 2019. With stops at Los Banos, Laguna and Lingayen, Pangasinan already completed within the past two-months, Loyola is now gearing up for its next location, Baguio.
Coach Roxy Dorlas has been leading the charge in this project with the mission of helping spread grassroots youth football in the country, focusing in Luzon.
“We really try to help out the provincial teams for them to get more exposure at the competitive level. We know there is a lot of talent in the Philippines (particularly) in the provinces, but they don’t have the luxury (of footballing resources) like we have here in Manila (such as the number of) games… Through Loyola FC, we try to help them get these competitive games”, Coach Roxy shared.
The Baguio leg of the tour, as in the other previous destinations, will comprise of three main activities: football friendly matches with the local clubs, and a series of training sessions with the possibility of trials for aspiring young footballers for talent identification and possibly the chance in joining the club’s youth ranks.
Another thing that caught Coach Roxy Dorlas and the rest of Loyola’s attention with regards to the the players in the provinces is the passion and commitment to playing the sport.
“I think the passion (is greater when it comes to players from the provinces) compared to the ones here in Manila. I know that here in Manila, once players get to a certain level, they want to focus already in their studies. But in the provinces, you can tell that if the opportunity is there for them to really represent the country, they’ll really continue and try to get to the highest level,” added the mentor who also coaches the Philippine U16 team.
The two-day Baguio leg is set to unfold from November 30 to December 1, 2019 with plans for more destinations come 2020.
WHEN WILL LOYOLA’S SENIOR SQUAD RETURN TO COMPETING?
Finally, the big question that has been hanging for quite some time from both club faithfuls and general Philippine football fans has been asked: When will Loyola be seen back to competing even in the 7s at the earliest?
Although, non-committal, Coach Roxy provided an air of optimism that it may eventually happen soon enough but not in the immediate future.
“As soon as we can form a team, I would definitely entertain (competing in the senior 7’s Football League).
“(But) I think for now, it’s very challenging… because or high school players who are in the U17s and U19s are starting to focus already with their respective school teams.
“Hopefully (we can field a senior squad) by next year. But I think our (more realistic) target is within the next two years.”