Futsal coach Victor Jacobus Hermans of the Netherlands is currently in the Philippines in partnership with the Henry V. Moran Foundation, the MVP Sports Foundation, Inspire Sports Academy, and the Philippine Football Federation to lend a hand in the development of a national program and plan for futsal in the Philippines.
Although the multi-titled coach (who won the AFC Futsal Championship with Iran, the AFF and SEA Games titles with Thailand) will not be mentoring a national squad, his main reason for his presence here is to share his knowledge of the sport, particularly in the Asian setting, to help lay the foundation for futsal’s growth domestically.
“We are thrilled to have one of the fathers of the modern game of futsal in the Philippines to help us develop futsal from the grassroots and youth. We are not bringing Coach Vic here to coach a national team, but we are partnering with him to work with us and the PFF in laying out a pathway to develop for this sport,” said Henry V. Moran Foundation Chairman, Danny Moran.
“Vic has a proven track record, and with his vast expertise in Asia and his knowledge of Asian cultures, we want him to focus on helping the Philippines establish a foundation where we can use the sport to give millions of Filipino children the chance and the opportunity to succeed in life,” added Mr. Moran.
The Henry V. Moran foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the sport of futsal to public schools, charities, and communities across the country.
Futsal is an indoor variant of football and is five-a-side. Developed in Uruguay in the 1930’s, the sport was originally developed utilizing basketball courts. It eventually grew as a competitive sport that became a format in developing and producing technical players. It has also been a major contributor in the grassroots levels by engaging players from communities which do not have proper football facilities to be involved and participate in the sport and, in effect, be part of the larger footballing community.
Some of the world’s most technically adept and gifted footballers such as Neymar, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Iniesta played futsal early in their playing careers and credit the sport for contributing a big part in their development as footballers.
The MVP Sports Foundation, a giant in the Philippines when it comes to development at the grassroots level spanning multiple disciplines, is also partnering in this endeavor for domestic grassroots futsal.
“The MVP Sports Foundation has always been supportive of football development together with the PFF and other private entities like the Moran Foundation and Inspire Sports Academy. In supporting football’s growth, we are investing in futsal as a means to reach more Filipinos at the base and improve the technical skills of our local players. It is therefore our pleasure to be working with these partners to bring in a futsal legend like Mr. Vic Hermans in helping our country develop a long term, successful, and sustainable futsal program in the country,” said Mr. Vince Santos, MVP Sports Foundation’s Program Director.
Current state of futsal: Promising developments
Football is still currently still a niche sport in the Philippines, even more so when it futsal. But what’s encouraging is through the Henry V. Moran Foundation’s advocacy, futsal had an unlikely growing set of practitioners, which are the public schools, through the foundation’s Liga Eskwela Futsal Program.
In the few years that the program has been in existence, its growth in terms of the number of participating schools has been overwhelmingly positive – from eleven participants in the first year, to more than 300 public schools in the third year (thanks to the positive endorsement by the Department of Education).
Now heading into its fourth year, The Liga Eskwela Progam is now aiming to making it even bigger in scope by reaching more provinces in different regions.
Despite the growth of the program, the Moran Foundation still has plans in the pipe. When asked by the media on the possibility of futsal being a part of collegiate sports, Mr. Danny Moran responded that the foundation is in contacts with college sporting bodies like the UAAP and WNCAA to include futsal in the future seasons to provide continuity and opportunity as well for players to continue practicing their sport at a competitive level after the grassroots.
However, it has been emphasized that at the moment, that the focus of the foundations involved is to lay the groundwork for futsal in the country at the grassroots, a statement which was also agreed upon by Coach Vic Hermans.
A more practical variant of football for PH
The Philippines, being a tropical country that experiences harsh wet season, and hot and humid dry season, having topnotch facilities and even playing the traditional football can be a truly challenging and expensive ordeal. Maintenance of resources, welfare of participants and practitioners, and quality of play would generally require more effort compared to countries that are more naturally conducive for the sport.
This is where futsal, being an indoor sport, is at an advantage. With its more “weatherproof” venues, it can be played all year round. And its design setup being compatible to be shared with a basketball court (something that the Philippines is abundant with), the resources are almost complete (save for some additions).
If the current momentum of futsal’s steady growth can be sustained, or even improved, then the country will benefit in terms of the possible talents it can produce for the sport and, to an extent, football (as crossing over between the two happens quite normally).
Tasks at hand in growing the sport
Since arriving in the Philippines on April 18, Coach Vic Hermans has already undergone an assessment tour of the country’s state in matters pertaining to grassroots futsal.
Some of the events that Coach Hermans has observed are the Palarong Pambansa in Davao and the Allianz National Youth Futsal Invitationals that were held in different major cities nationwide.
With the PFF, the MVP Sports Foundation and the Inspire Academy, Coach Vic will be conducting the AFC Futsal Level 2 training and licensing of local coaches and trainers. This will be held from May 20 to 26.
The Futsal Level 2 will be the first ever that will be done in the Philippines and will be carried out in alignment to the PFF’s plan and vision for futsal development.
Check out the Moran Foundation Facebook page for more details on futsal developments pertaining to the Liga Eskwela.