PFF U15: NCR, NOFA off to perfect starts in 2019 National Championship

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.

Photo credit: Philippine Football Federation


PFF president Araneta eyes nat’l Under-17 tournament in 2020

(Via wires)

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.”


Vision Beyond Borders: Football For Humanity’s grassroots program takes nationwide route

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).”

Photo credit: Football for Humanity Facebook page

Visit Football for Humanity Foundation‘s official website for more info.

Bohemian ends 2019 SingaCup U10 tourney in Quarterfinals

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).

Checkout SingaCup’s official site and Facebook page for more info and updates.

Photo credit: Bohemian SC Facebook Page / Youth Football League


Pinoy homegrown footballer Shanden Vergara earns NJCAA All-Region nod

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.

Photo credit: Shanden Vergara Facebook page


Bukidnon FC wins 2019 Mindanao Cup

Via Mindanao Cup

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.

Shots Fired: Meet Sagay City FC’s lethal wonder-kid

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.


Photo credit: Shiorenel Baril’s Facebook page


Sagay City FC prove superior in 2019 Marañon Youth Cup

Host team Sagay City FC seized the 2nd Marañon Youth Cup championship after besting STI-West Negros University 2-1 in a closely contested final of the four-day tournament held in SNHS football ground in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last October 30.

A goal by Ryan Monares and Rohderick Rodriguez for Sagay proved enough to cancel STI -West Negros’ conversion by Zacharry Lacson to go all the way and earn the top prize.

The final result though may have put a dampener for STI-West Negros’ campaign which got a major haul of the individual honours as Chester Alipoon got the top-scorer award with four goals under his name while Arnulfo Urbon and Alexander Realino won the best midfielder and goalkeeper respectively.

The championship trophy proved to be doubly sweet though for wonder-kid Shiorenel Baril who also won the MVP plaudits after a memorable tournament as well as Japeth Mermida who was deemed as the best defender.

A total of nine teams, made up of school varsity and local amateur clubs, participated in the competition that transpired from October 26 to 30.

The tournament started in a two-group elemination phase where qualified teams headed into the knockouts starting with the quarterfinals until the ultimate decider.

A notable participation of Ateneo de Manila High School, all the way from the National Capital Region, ended in third place after beating Ilonggo Young Booters FC of Barotac by a score of 2-0.

Ateneo’s contention for the title ended in the semifinals when they suffered a narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of STI – West Negros University.

Also, a consolation plate competition was won by Central Philippine University FC after defeating Sigay FC by a 2-0 scoreline.

The 2019 Marañon Youth Cup is the second edition of the tournament hosted by Sagay City, Negros Occidental. It is a tournament for competitive club and varsity teams at the youth level as part of its football development program for the benefit of its local youth and is founded by Sagay City Mayor Alfredo “Thirdy” D. Marañon III with the help of Ceres-Negros FC.

Follow Sagay Football’s Facebook page for announcements on future competitions.

Photo credit: Sagay Football/Jan Eleven Gozon


Snow Badgers Filipino homegrown Shanden Vergara carves path in US Soccer

Former De La Salle University footballer Shanden Vergara is starting to realize his potential overseas as he makes a mark in his ongoing first season with Snow College in Utah, United States.

Once a vital creative force for the Green Archers in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 81, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder from San Carlos City, Negros Occidental took a chance to further his development in the United States when he qualified for a scholarship with Snow College this 2019.

The academic institution, also known as the Badgers in athletic events, is competing in the Division I of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

Commendable debut

Upon enrollment for the fall 2019 season, Shanden immediately suited up in time for the Division I conference campaign where he was utilized in different positions either in midfield or defense.

In 10 appearances, as of this writing, Shanden was able to start for seven matches scoring two goals and bagging three assists – the most for his team – as per the NJCAA official tally.

Listed as a sophomore for the Badgers, Shanden still has around two years left to compete in college or university level. And if he can continue or even surpass his current form, then he may catch the eyes of talent-scouts in the country for a shot at competing at the highest level of football in the US – the Major League Soccer.

Still in the thick of it

Though the preliminaries has just recently concluded, the remainder of 2019 is still crucial and busy for Shanden’s maiden season, with the campaign still far from done after Snow College finished strong in its conference to earn a playoffs spot.

“(Our team) finished second in the Scenic West Athletic Conference,” shared Shanden to 5th Minute of Added Time via online chat.

“The season is not over yet because there’s still the playoffs in a couple of weeks ( with schedules still to be confirmed) where we play against the top three teams of the conference for the semifinals.”

The immediate playoffs serve as the semifinals where Snow is set to face third placed Southern Nevada while conference-leading Salt Lake Community College goes against fourth placed Utah State University – Eastern.

“Southern Nevada is one of our toughest opponents in the conference,” Shanden added regarding their semifinals competitors.

If Shanden and the rest of the Badgers are able to navigate through the semifinals and final of their conference playoffs, then they will be eligible to compete in the Region 18 tournament for a shot at the “Nationals” which will be a battle-royale between each region’s best team.

In elite company

Shanden Vergara’s current promise being shown in USA’s soccer system puts him in an exclusive circle of a few modern homegrown Filipino footballers who had the rare chance of being the country’s talent exports for the beautiful game joining the likes of Freddy Gonzalez, Marco Casambre and Amani Aguinaldo, all of whom made their respective marks with The Azkals.

However, despite this impression of joining an elite circle – behind the scenes – Shanden’s path has never been easy, requiring sacrifices and immense effort to further improve himself in a foreign and competitive environment (not to mention completing the academic requirements). But if he can maintain the course and thrive in his young and upward-trending career as a footballer, he certainly can fulfill his targets to reach the next level.

“I miss my family every single day, as well as my friends. I’ve also been playing in different positions which my coach wants me to play. I played as a forward, midfielder, winger or sometimes a defender for tactical reasons. Our coach has been rotating us in different positions as he wants us to be versatile players,” Shanden shares on some of the situations where he has been put out of his comfort zone.

“My natural role has always been in the midfield or behind the striker. But I don’t mind if I play different positions for as long as I can play, where I enjoy playing the ball with my feet.”

Staying focused, yet grounded

At this moment, Shanden Vergara’s upward trajectory is showing steadiness, and has already gone quite a progression from his humble roots in San Carlos, then to the UAAP and now in the NJCAA with Snow College.

But the lad’s already inspiring rise is just beginning at the other side of the world as he is still in the early phase of his varsity soccer career in the states. Yet, it’s reassuring to know that Shanden’s focus and resolve remains the same as he reaches for his goal of carving out a career in the pro-ranks.

“My goal after college is to become a professional footballer, as it always has been my dream since I was young,” Shanden states.

In the end, despite the immense promise that currently lies ahead on his football journey, the former Green Archer turned Badger still keeps a grounded attitude knowing his opportunities are not just limited to the sport given the education he is receiving – and need to take care of – as an athlete-scholar.

“If (a career in football does not work out as planned), I will look for another opportunity which is to find a good job for my future for whatever God gives me in my life.

“His plans will always be greater than mine.”


Football for Humanity bridges infrastructure gap in PH football

In-line with FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s recent visit to Manila in support of the country’s football development, one of the main topics touched was infrastructure, something that Football for Humanity (FFH) Foundation has been staunchly pouring out efforts onto for at least the past three years.

In one report, the FIFA president mentioned that with their organisation’s help, having more infrastructures for the sport, and more competitions at varying levels, will benefit the Philippines’ overall improvement in football.

Such a statement from the most powerful man in world football only further validates the objectives of Football for Humanity in creating football infrastructures that the community can freely use particularly for the children in order to plant the seeds and eventually cultivate a footballing culture and develop the fundamental individual skills, in an organic setup, in playing the sport.

Football for Humanity co-founder and vice-president, Ms. Belle Tiongco, believes the visit of FIFA’s highest executive is a positive impact for Philippine football.

“It’s very inspiring, FIFA coming here. Just that… the visit of the (federation’s) officials is already very inspiring because that means that the interest in football (in the Philippines) is really growing.”

Meanwhile, founder and president Chris Thomas, also shared the same sentiment.

“I think the president of FIFA coming to the Philippines is a huge boost and an inspiration to football across the country. And with the statements that he made when it comes to the infrastructure, this is something which plays a key role in the development of football in the Philippines on a community level as well.”

5-a-side Football Pitches

One of Football for Humanity’s main thrusts in contributing to community development lies in the creation of football fields or pitches for small-sided variant of the beautiful game, particularly five-a-side.

At its very essence, the driver of such infrastructure development initiatives emanate from the belief that sport and play is a fundamental right for every child. The creation of such specific football pitch facilities enable play-based learning environments for children to have a shot at fulfilling their potentials in the sport.

“For now, we (lack) infrastructure. We’ve gone around the country for the past four or five years on our football advocacy and that’s one glaring (deficiency). That’s why when we formed our strategy, we were very clear: Football infrastructure should be promoted (and) built,” Belle Tiongco shared.

After being involved in six completed projects, three in Bicol and three in Mindanao, in partnership with local government units (LGU) FFH has been building simple, cost-effective concrete pitches for small-sided football. 

The facility being built do not feature touchlines, making children enjoy free-flowing, fast-paced games that cultivate individual skills that will help them set up the innate qualities that would serve as their foundation towards the next level of their development. Furthermore, it is considered the most popular format in England where millions of young people play on a weekly basis.

Another important aspect in the building of these facilities is that they are made exclusively for football and, to a certain extent, futsal as well deviating from the more applied norm of sharing facilities with other sports like basketball and volleyball courts as emphasised by Belle Tiongco.

“In our actual experience, (sharing spaces with other sports) because once kids get (more immersed) to football then there’s going to be that clash (with practitioners of other sports) in terms of who will play (in the facility).

“You don’t want one sport to suffer because you are promoting another.”

An affirmation

Going back to the statements made by FIFA President Gianni Infantino on the infrastructure development and the recent urging of Filipino worldwide boxing icon and senator Manny Pacquiao (whom President Infantino paid a visit to) on the need to focus on sports disciplines where Filipinos can excel and win, gives encouragement in terms of the direction that FFH’s initiatives are taking as Chris Thomas further intimated.

“I think the comments that were made by the president of FIFA, they just affirm what we’ve been doing since 2016 and what we are striving to do, not just from a community level, but on a national level as well.

“Especially with the likes of (Congresswoman) Pia Cayetano (whom President Infantino also met, being an advocate of women’s sports) and (Senator) Manny Pacquiao talking about legislation and policies – which are really important – they are part and parcel of the growth of the sport by having the right policies and legislations in place so that it opens the doors for government’s support whether through financial or infrastructure.

“Things look like they’re coming together in harmony with the PFF, FIFA, and the legislators, and with the current projects that are on the ground particularly with what we at FFH are doing, everything seems to be matching together.”

Other fronts

Football for Humanity Foundation may be currently focusing their immediate future efforts on infrastructure and community development initiatives, but they are also in the midst of other activities related to football.

At the moment, FFH, in partnership with Dubai World Expo 2020 and One World Play Project, are still in the midst of spreading awareness and hope through football in the country by distributing specially made balls that are virtually indestructible to far flung and conflict-torn areas.

Also, in-line is the Vision Beyond Borders project which is a coaching course to be provided by National Youth Association of Sweden and UEFA B licensed English FA tutor Owen Southgate which will begin early November in Vermosa Cavite. 

Vision Beyond Borders will be held in multiple locations around the country beginning in Luzon, followed by the Visayas, which will then conclude in Davao in Mindanao.

More than just football

Football for Humanity’s advocacy does not focus on the sport of football as an end to their means though. FFH aims to provide a holistic approach in community development through the “Play for Goals” program by partnering with other not-for-profit groups such as Library Renewal Partnership and Waves for Water which builds libraries and provides clean water facilities respectively.

FFH’s latest project in Davao actually has been the product of the collaboration with their aforementioned partners along with the help of the LGU and is the template that the foundation really is striving for in terms of helping the community. 

In picture: Football For Humanity’s founders Belle Tiongco (left) and Chris Thomas (right)

“Football for Humanity is not just about the infrastructure, and the promotion and development of the sport. It’s about social development and community empowerment by taking that holistic approach in a sustainable way.

“We’re also tackling pressing issues in society whether it be drugs, crimes gang recruitments even violent extremism. It’s another way for us to use football to prevent these type of things from happening… even health issues. 

“Football becomes that platform and tool to direct the community’s youth to a more successful future,” shared Chris Thomas. 

Follow and contact Football for Humanity Foundation to know more about their advocacies through their social media channels on Youtube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram