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.


2019 Mindanao Cup aims to discover future PH football heroes

[Via Mindanao Football Cup]

Come October 23, 2019, the inaugural Mindanao Cup kicks off at Tionko Football Field in Davao City to serve as the primary vehicle for talent discovery in the region in-line with its other on-going grassroots initiatives.

The tournament, which will adhere to the nine-a-side format, will feature 16 participating teams from various football associations in Mindanao, and will run until October 25. 

Organized by the Davao South Regional Football Association (DSRFA) and the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA), the Mindanao Cup is a spin-off of the annual NOFA Invitational Cup in Bacolod City, which success since its 2016 launch has resulted for it to be a recurring age-group tournament.

NOFA President Ricky Yanson, who has been involved with grassroots development for years in Negros Occidental, emphasized that the objective of the Mindanao Cup, which will be a tournament for boys 11 years old and below, is to find promising players with the potential to represent the national squad in the future.

“Our goal is to develop young Filipino talents who can hopefully play for our national team in the future,’’ said Ricky Yanson, who partnered with DSRFA President Engr. Henry Sabate in staging the event.

“We already had four editions of the NOFA Cup. We noticed that only a few teams from Mindanao came over to join, so we’ve decided to organize a tournament that will cater to the young players in the region,’’ added the NOFA president.

While the NOFA Cup gathers select competitive teams from all over the Philippines, the Mindanao Cup brings together squads from the FAs within the region. Mr. Yanson emphasized during a recent meeting with the 17 Mindanao-based FAs that the chief objective is to discover and hone future national team players.

“This is a great opportunity for players in Mindanao to develop their skills and play against the best from the other provinces.”

The participating teams are the following:

  • Agusan del Sur FA
  • Bukidnon FA
  • Central Butuan District 1 Football Team of Butuan-Agusan del Norte FA
  • CdeO – Little Me Academy FC of Cagayan de Oro-Misamis Oriental FA
  • Camp Kalaw Football Club of Golden Davao RFA
  • DavNor RFA
  • Davao Lola Mommy’s (White) and Davao Lola Mommy’s (Red) of Davao RFA
  • Iligan City Football Academy of Iligan-Lanao del Norte-Lanao del Sur RFA
  • MRFA Sultan Jolongs FC of Maguindanao RFA
  • SOCSARGEN RFA of South Cotabato – Sarangani – General Santos RFA
  • Team MARFA of Mount Apo RFA
  • SWAT FC of Sultan Kudarat FA
  • Surigao United of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands RFA
  • ZANDIFA – Dipolog of Zamboanga del Norte – Dipolog FA
  • Sta. Lucia Jumbos of Zamboanga del Sur – Pagadian FA

The Mindanao Cup is part of Ricky Yanson’s continuing commitment to develop young Filipino football players and to demonstrate his belief in local talent.


Loyola FC to compete in 7’s Football League Youth

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.


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.”


Negros Occidental Football Association reps PH in 2019 Soong Ching Ling Cup in China

Shared article by Negros Occidental Football Association

Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) is representing the Philippines at the 2019 Soong Ching Ling Cup China-ASEAN Youth Football Friendly Matches to be held in Hangzhou, China, from August 1 to 8, 2019.

Head coach Noel de Oca leads a 20-member delegation composed of five mentors and 15 players (aged 12 years old and younger) that comprise Team NOFA-Philippines. Participation in the tournament is endorsed by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).

The Soong Ching Ling Cup is an annual Under-13 eight-a-side football tournament hosted by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, the Chinese Football Federation and the ASEAN-China Center, to promote friendship and understanding between China and ASEAN countries.

Team NOFA-Philippines is included in Group A with China, Malaysia, Singapore and Laos. Group B comprises Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Cambodia.

This year marks the third time that NOFA-Philippines is taking part in the prestigious ASEAN youth football tourney with the squad eyeing to top their fourth place finish last year when they beat China in the elimination round, 3-0, but lost to the hosts to end up in third.

NOFA President Mr. Ricky Yanson has high hopes for his squad.

“Team NOFA-Philippines has always looked forward to joining the Soong Ching Ling Cup since our first time in 2017…. Being a China-ASEAN football tournament, we get to have a glimpse of the level football for Under 13 in these countries.”

He also said that the experience that the NOFA mentors gain from the SCL Cup also contributes to the improvement of NOFA activities.

“Opportunities for interaction with other coaches and organizers can also bring about ideas essential to our own grassroots development program.”

The NOFA-Philippines players are standouts from the recently concluded NOFA Cup 2019 that was held last summer in Bacolod. These boys who come from different parts of the Philippines— Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete and Manila — are ready to face their ASEAN counterparts.

“They will be traveling to China after weeks of training camp that included tune-up games against older age groups and participation in out-of-town football festivals… With the help of the boys’ parents and their respective schools, we were able to come up with training arrangements best suited for the team,” said Mr. Yanson.

Team NOFA-Philippines will have their first game against Malaysia on August 3; to be followed by a match against China on the same day, and against Singapore on August 4. Their last game in the elimination round is on August 5 versus Laos.

For updates, visit the Negros Occidental Football Association page on Facebook.

DFU Cruzeiro Kanga Cup 2019

PH grassroots football club DFU Cruzeiro ends as runners-up in Australian tourney

Filipino amateur football club Dreaming Futbol United (DFU) Cruzeiro pulled off a fine run and reaching the final in the Under-13 Cup competition of the 2019 Kanga Cup held in Canberra, Australia.

Even if falling short in the ultimate showdown against local team West Point SC in a pulsating and high scoring encounter that ended in a 6-4 scoreline last July 12, the Metro Manila-based club has surpassed expectations by going the distance in the campaign and showing a valiant effort that ended in a legitimate shot at winning the prize.

Raphael Alfonso Aljama scored a brace with Kurt Sarip and Enrique Pastor both chipping in a goal each in the four-goal haul by the Filipino boys against the victorious Australians.

Despite reaching the final, DFU Cruzeiro’s road to the Final has not been a cakewalk at all as they began the tournament last July 8 with a 4-4 draw against Kingston FC.

In the second match, the Filipino club faced what would be their rivals for the trophy – West Point – which ended in a 6-1 beating in favor of the Australian side.

Although initially reeling from the lopsided loss, Cruzeiro bounced back in emphatic fashion with a comprehensive 6-0 win over ASA Football, followed by a closely fought 2-1 triumph against Belconnen United.

The Filipino delegates closed the preliminary stage with 2-0 setback which was handed by Canberra Olympic for a 2W, 1D and 2L which was just enough for a third place spot in the six-team pool and book their place into the semifinals.

DFU Cruzeiro’s boys got their mojo rolling at the right time as the semifinal match concluded with a convincing 4-0 win over Belconnen with Kurt Sarip scoring two, while Mateo Lacson and Enrique Pastor finding the back of the net as well for the boys from the Philippines to set foot into the final.

Photo credit: Dreaming Futbol United Facebook page