Third Football RTD Focuses on Maximizing Opportunities for Players and Coaches

“As the Philippines moves towards football as a more important national sport, football will be a huge industry following in the footsteps of the other nations, where it is a multi-billion euro industry.” With these words Dr. Bernardo Villegas set the tone for the Third Round Table Discussion on Football: Enhancing Human Potential through Football, organized by the Center for Research and Communication on November 3, 2014, from 1:30 to 6 p.m. at the University of Asia and the Pacific. The discussion centered around two themes: the potential for the Philippines to export football talent, and the increasing opportunities for coaches in the near future.

In his presentation, Atty. Edwin Gastanes, General Secretary of the Philippine Football Federation, contrasted the shrinking youth populations of Europe and Japan with the Philippines’ 19 million strong potential talent pool of children ages 6 to 12. Another presenter, Rodrigo Davalos, Assistant Head Coach of Team Socceroo Football Club, noted that Brazil developed its roster of 2,000 players in professional clubs around the world by improvising and popularizing beach football and futsal, which train speed and creative play style. Kevin Goco, Volunteer Director of Gawad Kalinga’s SipaG football program, gave a presentation on how the participation of GK communities in the Ambassadors Cup increased children’s interest in playing futsal. Dr. Antonio Torralba of UA&P then presented the results of a study on values education through football, and pointed out that coaches need concrete incentives to sustain children’s interest in training. Congressman Roman Romulo of Pasig District gave a presentation on government initiatives for sports scholarships, including his proposed UNIFAST bill for providing sports, arts, and academic scholarships to children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Mr. Antonio de Rosas, President and CEO of Pru Life UK, presented his company’s partnership with the Azkals to organize a football clinic in Bantayan Island, Cebu, and to bring the national Under-11 boys’ squad to England for intensive training.

The round table discussion also highlighted opportunities for coaches. Atty. Gastanes discussed the availability of PFF coach training sessions, on how the AFC C-License can give holders coaching opportunities across the ASEAN region, and on how the demand for coaches could increase nationwide with the start of the Philippine Football National League. Congressman Romulo also mentioned how the K to 12 program will introduce a senior high school sports track, with schools in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo and Aurora Province planning to specialize in football. Stella Urbiztondo of the UA&P Physical Education Department added that demand for coaches could increase not only for professional but also for recreational clubs. Thomas Roy, a youth football technical consultant from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that his ministry is planning to send a youth coaching development expert in the first quarter of 2015, and that it may be possible for interested groups to contact the expert to conduct football coaching clinics.

Beyond the economic dimensions of football, Dr. Villegas reminded the participants of the need for authentic human values:  “I hope we will be able to avoid some of the less attractive dimensions of football in other countries, like corruption at the highest level or game fixing. There is no guarantee that football will actually contribute to human potential, unless those of us who are at the beginning make sure that beyond profit, there will be many of us who will think of the other dimensions of human existence—spiritual, moral, beyond the physical development of the person.”

Other RTD participants included Former Ambassador of Chile to the Philippines Roberto Mayorga, Coach Aris Caslib of the PFF, Perry Camba of the Cavite Football Association, Roy Moore of Payatas FC, Miguel Bermundo of Dream Big Pilipinas, Miguel Celdran of Bootcamp, football documentary producer Albert Almendralejo, sports writers Albert Ramirez and Ignacio Dee, corporate officials from Alaska Milk Corporation, Globe Telecom, LBC Foundation, Nestle Philippines, and Pru Life UK, and community coaches from GK Barangka, GK Tatalon, and Barangay Marikina Heights.

(All photos by CRC)