National Capital Region (NCR) FA registered a lopsided win in Group A action during the opening day of Philippine Football Federation (PFF) U15 Boys National Championship 2019 held last November 11 at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
NCR gave a stellar overall performance scoring in double-figures to post a one-sided 11-0 result in their opener against Federated FA of Masbate (FFAM), with Matthias Lozano scoring a hat-trick and Scott Mackenzi registering a brace as both led NCR in the goalscoring department.
Top scorer Matthias Lozano showed such high-level of form during his shift, providing more than enough damage already that he was substituted out just five minutes after the hour mark.
In the other match, Laguna romped to a 4-0 start to the championship with Louis Angelo Junio producing an inspired performance with two conversions to lead his team against Cordillera RFA.
The Southern Tagalogs got to a dream start with Junio getting the breakthrough in just the eighth minute. Roenz Bicua then doubled the lead seven minutes after the half-hour mark as Laguna ended the first half with a two-goal cushion.
In the second half, quick back-to-back goals from Vincent Saludo and Junio just a few moments past the hour mark, sealed the deal for Laguna FA as they secured a convincing result to begin their Championship campaign.
But come their second assignment that has just been recently concluded this November 13, Laguna suffered their first loss against Negros Occidental FA (NOFA), as they succumbed to a 0-2 defeat.
An early dagger inflicted by Mark Gabriel Cantos within the first minute of the match, followed by a late jugular from John Andrei Roldan in added time proved to be enough as the Western Visayans were able to get a perfect start to their campaign.
FFA Masbate meanwhile saw themselves still very much in the competition, getting a lifeline after they were able to crucially bounce back from the previous setback they suffered against NCR by dismantling Cordillera RFA with a 3-1 win on November 13.
Kervin Tacdoy seemed to have put his Northern Luzon-based squad in a very promising situation when he converted a chance in the 32nd minute, but a second-half fightback from the Masbateños proved to be enough as Carl James Zaragoza registered back-to-back goals in the 47th and 53rd minutes respectively, before Gian Francisco put any doubts to rest with an 85th minute icing on the cake.
The PFF National Championship will continue until November 19. The rest of the fixtures are below:
The National Championship is contested by the best teams which already progressed from the grinding Regional Group Stage that transpired from late June to late September this year.
With a big global brand expected to back the country’s professional football league in the next three years, Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta vowed to come up with more programs that will benefit age-group players in the future.
Araneta said the impending sponsorship of Qatar Airways to the Philippines Football League will allow the PFF to allot funds for a national Under-17 tournament starting next year.
“We want to start the Under-17 tournament next year,” he said, noting that the PFF had also begun holding a national Under-15 tournament this year that is now in its final stages.
“We really have a lot of football activities coming in and I want to see that this is being implemented properly. We are not neglecting players in the age-group level. In fact, we have been revitalizing our grassroots program to find more homegrown talents in the country.”
On top of the national Under-17 tournament, Araneta said the PFF will also hold Under-16 and Under-18 regional tournament for girls as part of its thrust to develop women’s football. The PFF chief hopes these tournaments will lead to improved performances for the age-group teams in international tournaments.
Araneta is hopeful the entry of Qatar Airways will trigger more support from local companies to football.
“Qatar Airways is a global brand and hopefully we have local brands that will join the sponsorship,” said Araneta.
“There are still a lot of ways to improve the league. The sponsorship really allows the federation And aside from that, some money will go into the federation where in we can spend also the league for other programs.”
Football for Humanity Foundation continues to sustain its grassroots initiatives as they now embark on a route that include stops in key cities within the Visayas and Mindanao with their “Vision Beyond Borders” project.
The activity is a major undertaking that aims to share knowledge to Filipino football coaches at the grassroots and youth levels on the European approach, particularly the English method, in how football is taught to children.
This set of sessions is currently on-going and will happen in different key cities across the nation which began in Vermosa in Cavite that concluded last November 7, and is now taking an inter-island southward route until its final stop in Davao within a month’s time.
Giving importance to grassroots training
Football Humanity once again has just brought National Youth Football Association (NYFA) Sweden founder, Owen Southgate, for another series of training sessions (which is currently on-going as of this writing) for grassroots coaches.
A UEFA B licensed coach, Owen shares his expertise to his Filipino counterparts on the latest techniques when it comes to mentoring young footballer particularly focusing on the holistic approach that transcends not just on the pitch but also including the overall well-being of the players that very much translates to their performances on the pitch and their outlooks in life off it.
Speaking to 5th Minute of Added Time in an interview, Coach Owen shared the overall concept and approach of NYFA when it comes grassroots development of young players.
“The whole concept of NYFA is fundamentally developed to try and present young people the chance to take control of their own organization.
When you see the word youth involved in any sport it’s ultimately the most important word. But it’s actually adults who take control of that scenario,” stated Southgate who is also an English FA Tutor.
Changing the coaching construct: All about the children
Owen Southgate further added that there needs to be a paradigm shift in terms of approach when it comes to coaching youngsters.
“Educating coaches like this, the emphasis is to try and focus coaches’ attention to the fact that coaches aren’t necessarily needed for quality action within the sport, children are brilliant at it already. They are born expert learners.”
The mentor further added that major problems that grassroots have is due to the creation of agenda-ed bubble, where children’s potential are limited because of the belief that the right way of learning is to follow the adult pathway – a pathway that is often driven by grown-ups’ own agenda and personal gain.
“It’s not our right as adults to take control of the scenario in which they can actually exploit children in that process. That’s why we (NYFA Sweden) exist, that’s why we persist, (and) that’s why Football for Humanity exists because it is for extending opportunities for people who actually have no opportunity at the moment, but can have if they actually take control of their circumstances,” Owen Southgate further emphasised.
“…It’s just a question of trust (when it comes to coaching youngsters). We’re educating coaches to understand that that if you trust your children and let them play, all the outcomes are going to be there. As a coach you only need to see the details (in their development) in order to be able to add the layers or support the process as it goes, not to take control of it.”
A nationwide caravan
This month’s Vision Beyond Borders sessions for coaches is a continuation of the program previously held in Davao. This time though is a much bigger undertaking as Vermosa serves only as the first stop in a nationwide tour in major key cities.
Football for Humanity founder Chris Thomas shared the next stops of the grassroots coaches’ training which will be in San Carlos, Iligan, Marawi and again Davao. The whole set of activities will last for about a month.
As of this writing, the third day of training sessions in San Carlos have just concluded as thee team is now setting its sights for the next stop: Iligan.
“There are some places in between that we’ll be going to (which we cannot divulge as of yet),” Chris Thomas clarified.
A major boost in support
Due to the previous projects and initiatives of Football for Humanity that have come into fruition, despite starting with relatively modest resources, the organisation is already steadily getting the attention of potential partners and sponsors.
The latest development in this aspect is the possibility of a collaborative effort with the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines being in the pipeline.
This is just the newest possible addition to the already forged partnerships with several other entities such as Expo 2020 Dubai, Global Goals, One World Play, Library Renewal Partnership, and Waves for Water.
Tackling a bigger issue, armed with the beautiful game
Along with the on-going Vision Beyond Borders initiative, Football for Humanity has just furthered its thrust towards fighting violent extremism and juvenile delinquency, particularly in Marawi City which has recently been a conflict area in Mindanao.
Football for Humanity aims to use sports as a tool to counter violence and delinquency through sports, particularly football, as it continues to follow through in its past efforts in helping Marawi City, particularly the children, get back to its feet by instilling a sense of hope through football.
Back to grassroots football: It’s potential in the Philippines
Returning to the initial discussion on grassroots football, Coach Owen Southgate shared his thoughts when asked about its potential in the Philippines, to which he replied:
“There is a huge amount of potential within the Filipino platform. The reason being is at the moment it is relatively untouched by those masked agendas…
“If you look at the complexities of the western culture and football in particular, the Philippines doesn’t have that kind of infrastructure (yet). So, it actually gives the Filipino platform a chance to build it the right way.”
Owen Southgate also explained further tapping on what his experience is with regards to Filipino culture that could help boost the grassroots football.
“If you look at the cultural idiosyncrasies (of Filipinos), there’s a lot of love, passion and creativity. They are all associative to creating a phenomenal platform for sport, but it’s just piecing them altogether, allowing them not to be touched by anything that kind of taints it and allowing it to grow.
“Obviously basketball is very heavy here, but football is a fantastic sport to make (a great platform for grassroots) happen with all the interest from the outside in. Just make sure that all the resources, be it the funding or the support, go to the right places to make it grow.”
Passion of Filipinos: A powerful trait
Lastly, when asked about what impacted him the most on his visits to the Philippines, from his involvement with Football for Humanity, Coach Owen Southgate emphasised on a few things.
“The feeling, the love for the sport from all the people I’m working with. You could tell in this room at the moment, every single coach has a passion and an identity towards the game that’s way more and beyond the game itself. That’s the most powerful thing that I can draw from the time that I am over here.
“Just like in Davao (a few months ago) when I was with those guys, they’re completely desperate for knowledge and desperate for an opportunity to exercise their vision and views of sport and what it meant to them.
“That’s an incredible thing for an educator to take on because that makes my life easy. It makes my life easy (when I) walk into the room and that the people are ready (to learn).”
Bohemian Sporting Club ends its contention in the on-going SingaCup U10 when its Team 1 was stopped in its tracks by Australian side Athletic Football Group by a score of 0-4 in the quarterfinals, the best finish so far by a Philippine-based club in both U8 and U10 divisions this 2019 edition.
The club, headed by Chairman and Philippine international footballer Jason de Jong, sent two teams in the U10 competition with Team 2 reaching the Round of 16 playoffs only to be eliminated by Alba FC of Indonesia also by a 4-0 scoreline.
Meanwhile other teams Philippine-based U10 contingents Manila Japanese FC and Sugod Malaya FC were only able to participate in the group stage after finishing third and fourth respectively (each group comprised of five teams with only the top two finishers heading into the Round of 16).
In the U8 division, sole Filipino participants Rovers FC of Davao were able to reach the Round of 16 after finishing third in their group (Top three teams in each of the two groups in U8 division qualify for the knockouts).
The Mindanao-based side were not able to reach the quarterfinals after being edged by Singapore’s Little League by a narrow 1-0 margin.
With the results, the Philippine contingents’ campaigns for the 2019 SingaCup U8 and U10 have come to their respective conclusions.
Come November 4, three divisions will commence their respective tournaments where the Philippines will be represented by PAREF Southridge (U12), Kaya Futbol Academy (U12, U14), Makati Football Club (U14), Great Oak Manor (U14), and Foobtall Funatics – FFAS (U16).
After showing consistency in his regular season debut for Snow College Badgers Soccer team in the NJCAA, Filipino homegrown international footballer and Football for Humanity Foundation ambassador Shanden Vergara caught the eye of the tournament officials presenting him the All-Region Award.
The citation, which was confirmed via Football For Humanity‘s social media account a few hours ago (as of this writing), is a testament to his efforts during the elimination phase as he helped the Badgers earn a spot in the conference playoffs (Snow College is competing in Region 18).
His two goals and team-leading three assists may have proved crucial in the Snow Badgers’ march deeper into the 2019 season where they have a shot to compete outside of their region.
The tough road ahead
The award may just be the first step as his potential is finally getting realised, but an arduous journey still lies ahead as his team treads a crucial juncture in the playoffs with a tough conference finals match against leaders Salt Lake Community College up next.
Shanden’s award also required significant sacrifices as aside from being separated from his family, which he has attested in an online interview weeks ago, the former DLSU Archer and UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year needed to forego what could be a highly probable chance of playing with the Azkals U22 in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games due to his commitment with the Badgers.
But if Shanden and his team could continue to defy the odds and move further in the NJCAA tournament, then it could serve as a major boost and validation of San Carlos City’s pride as a special talent and product of Philippine football’s grassroots that may earn him a future call-up, not just with the U22, but even the senior Azkals sooner than later.
Bukidnon FC emerged as the champion of the first Mindanao Cup that was held recently at the Tionko Football Grounds in Davao City from October 23 to 25.
Sixteen teams from Mindanao took part in the grassroots competition.
Davao South Regional FA White ended the tournament as first runner-up with Davao South RFA Red getting the second runner-up spot. Meanwhile Mt. APO RFA found themselves as third runner-up finisher.
In the Second Division SOCSARGEN RFA was crowned champion, which had Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental FA, Zamboanga del Norte – Dipolog FA, and Agusan del Sur RFA as first runner-up, second runner-up and third runner-up respectively.
Individual nods have been awarded to Bukidnon FC’s Jun Melig (Best Goalkeeper), Adriel Algodon (Best Defender), Prince Aseniero (Best Midfielder) and Kurbe Dairo (MVP), as well as to Mt. Apo RFA’s Jedd Gabriel Ceballos (Best Striker with 14 goals).
The football tournament was a joint endeavour of the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) and the Davao South Regional Football Association with the support of the local government of Davao City.
As the home team, Sagay City FC completed its campaign triumphantly in the recently concluded 2nd Marañon Youth Cup, one kid stood out from within their ranks with a bang.
The way this 16-year-old lighted up the pitch with his explosive presence earned him the MVP award in unanimous fashion, creating and scoring at will for his squad en-route to seizing the trophy against well-matched opposition from other parts of the country. This special talent goes by a very distinct, perhaps even fitting, name: Shiorenel Baril.
During the course of the four-day tournament, Shiorenel caught the eye of both spectators and organisers due to his sheer talent as testified by some of the several who witnessed him play.
“Ambilis, anlakas ng upper-body (strength) tapos deadly finisher,” as attested by Jan Gozon, who was able to watch Shiorenel operate inside the pitch.
Banking on his lethal combination of speed, and (most especially) his finishing Shionerel (who goes by the nickname “Zoren”) proved himself not only to his team but also the entire tournament as a promising player that made him the undisputed MVP.
His contributions to his squad have been crucial both as a scorer and, more importantly, as a creator with his two goals and three assists.
A true son of Sagay City, Zoren came from a modest provincial background being the fifth child out of eight siblings. He hailed from a family of fisher-folks, and Zoren himself even helps his father out in fishing. His rooted and very relatable upbringing makes him a true hometown hero on the rise for Sagay.
Currently playing exclusively for Sagay, Zoren shared through an on-line chat that he has been with the team since last year’s successful Pinas Cup and Batang Pinoy campaigns.
When asked what his targets in football are career-wise, Zoren’s response was (true to his on-pitch winning aura) short yet direct.
“(Gusto ko po) maging isang sikat na manlalaro.”
With a can-do attitude and his undeniable talent, Shiorenel “Zoren” Baril has a lot of promise ahead of him. And if there is someone he can emulate in terms of reaching the heights as a young Filipino footballer, he doesn’t need to look further as he can follow the path of fellow Negrense, Shanden Vergara.
Although the journey ahead for his budding yet truly promising career in the beautiful game won’t be easy, if he is able to scale and hurdle through the challenges ahead, a new nickname might already be waiting for him to be seized exclusively as his.