Upcoming Leagues: Should we be excited?
The United Football League (UFL) is officially gone, making the football situation in the Philippines at a very uncertain point in time. The new league, Philippine Football League (PFL), designed to be a national league and not just in Metro Manila, has yet to be given an official birth date. So far less than half of the teams from the previous first division (UFL) have confirmed, with two teams being newly formed on the opposite sides of the archipelago, one from Davao and the other from Ilocos. Official names and updates, to be released soon.
The Youth Football League (YFL) seems to be the official replacement of the UFL Youth League which existed for 4 years. So far the YFL has no official start date or eligibility rules or structure. To many young aspirants and their supporters, this is a great relief that there is a club competition for them.
With less than half of the UFL teams not joining the PFL, reasons only known for certain after the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and the Football Associations (FAs) confirm, a new league is said to happen very soon and with plans to be parallel with the PFL. Those teams not registering for the PFL might see this as a fall back option and those with excess number of players and budget, can register their second teams there. But what will be interesting is, amateur teams from lower division such as the Weekend Football League (WFL), are welcomed to join. Although one catch is, there may be a limit in terms of the number of foreigners that will be allowed to play on the pitch, similar to the four-foreigner rule limit that was used in the previous season of the UFL.
Pilipinas in Brazil!
Neymar 5s (5v5, no keepers) International Tournament organized by Ignite Sports in collaboration with Redbull and Sparta was fun and a huge success. It attracted around 20 teams across the Metro and was played across three Saturdays with even an inside competition for freestylers. What was most exciting about the whole concept was that the Champions will go to Brazil and compete against other teams from across the globe.
What is unique and interesting about the tourney however was, with every goal you score, you eliminate your opponent one-player-at-a-time until you have knocked out all the 5 players. Local TV superstar Daniel Matsunaga and friends (Nacional) knocked out the formidable Tondo FC in an epic 1v1 penalty shout out in the finals. We really hope they do the country proud in Brazil!
AFC Philippine Charge!
Global FC and Ceres FC are doing the Philippines proud in the group stage of the Asian Federation Confederation (AFC) Cup group stage, with both teams sitting on top of the table (the-AFC.com as of 3/14/2017). The West Negros team is in the same cluster as Tampines Rovers FC (SIN), Hanoi FC (VIE) and Felda United FC (MAS) with four games to go in group G. While in group F, Global FC, soon to be Global Cebu in the coming PFL, is in the same group as Johor Darul Tazim (MAS), Magwe FC (MYA) and Beoungket Angkor FC (CAM) with two games to play away and the last one at home. LABAN PILIPINAS!
Typhoon and Football: Defeat turned into Victory!
One major victory the country has had this year so far, was the restoration of the cage in the City of Naga. The CAGE is a stage to many young footballers but last December 2016, it was unfortunately in the path of Typhoon Nina which claimed lives and levelled major structures in its way. This was even before they could even celebrate its 1st year of its existence.
Our friend Chris Thomas, founder of Football for Humanity, only heard of it when he was on holiday back home in the UK. Less than a month, Chris was back in the country to put the cage back up, even stronger and better than its first set up. This celebration even brought the British Ambassador, Asif Amad and the Vice President of the country, a native of Bicol Region, Leni Robredo to reopen it to the public and cheer on the children.
We decided to reach out to Chris and for an update on the current situation on ground with the kids and players of the Cage.
How are the kids now and how are they enjoying the Cage, now that it is back up?
A lot of our kids are very talented, even as they have very little equipment. It’s very admirable how our coaches actually fashion training paraphernalia from whatever stuff they can find – shin guards and ladders from discarded PVC’s, plastic and cords. There’s lots of rejoicing when we get out old stuff – old jerseys, trainers and football boots that are hand-me-downs and donations from abroad. These are much appreciated and put into good use – we hope there are many more kind-hearted folks out there who can send us old stuff that can be recycled and worn proudly by these future champions.
Be sure to be on the lookout for the future upcoming Bicolano stars in the near future.
For more on the cage and efforts of Football for Humanity, please visit link below and be a part of the movement by fueling dreams of these children in the littlest way possible through FOOTBALL.
“A borderless world, promoting peace and equality for all”
The summer is already here and it is arguably one of the best times of the year to play some football. Be on the lookout for more pick up tournaments and be sure to see the pitches filled up especially with schools now going on break. Other than the macro football perspective, we wanted to find out more insights about some players and their personal stories and perspectives with the sport.
Paolo: The 65 year old Venetian old-timer who just would not quit his Passion
Born: 22 Mar, 1952
Position: Right back/Winger
“Never quit my passion”
Paolo came to the Philippines in 1998 for business. To play football he joined different clubs and competed in tournaments in Nomads with particularly with the Italian teams. He usually is in the Philippines from November up until March for vacation with his friends. He found a good place in BGC TURF and there he gets to play and make friends once or twice a week depending on how he feels. We were curious about his story, especially consistently seeing him week-in, week-out and we decided to reach out to him to find out more on his perspective.
What do you think about football?
It a great passion, football should be fraternity, equality and should be giving and not receiving. I never even give up my passion and I hope I will be playing until I am age 70-75. So far I feel fine, but I look forward to playing every time.
How do you maintain your fitness?
I just gym 2 to 3 times a week. I run also to keep fit but most importantly it boils down to the food you eat. Then gym or swim also. I do not smoke or drink.
Back in the day, at what age did you play football? And did you play professionally?
Played semi-pro level back In Italy. I started playing at 13 years old.
What is your most glorious moment in football?
When I made a tournament and we went to the final in 1885. There was a Juve coach to watch the players. I took a pic with Roberto Baggio. He was the best player in Italy, the Pele of Italy. Very quiet and peaceful guy. Never fights and no reaction and that how it should be. You should react but in a nice way. Always respect the person.
Do you watch the Azkals or any of the clubs?
I don’t watch the Azkals much but I have two friends, the Angeles brothers who were born in Venice. The most beautiful town in the world.
You think football is growing in the Philippines?
I think the Philippines can compete on the international scene because the sport is growing rapidly. Even the girls, you will be surprise how tough they are and how much passion they put in there. It is nice and there is a future with some support from other countries it can improve a lot.
If you could tell Filipinos to play football, what would you tell them?
In football, it is not as rough as you think. It is like dancing, it all about the positioning you feel like a ballerina, occasionally you get injured but it is not as rough as rugby or American football. Here it is more mental and skills. We do not have to be all Messi and Maradona, we need to be who we are and enjoy what we do. It is a gift from God.
It is a game, we should enjoy the game then after get a beer, a nice pizza. You get a good exercise by sweating a lot to keep in shape. It is good for the body and the mind.
If you had to choose between Ronaldo and Messi who would you choose and why?
I would choose Messi, because now a days it is a different kind of football but I will choose Messi, because of his human sensibility, how he acts inside and outside of the field. You have to show to the people that you are good inside the field and outside the field because you are an idol. You give the best, not the worst. So I think Messi so far is giving me a sense of Humanity, he is very kind and quiet and outside the field he is even better.
Back in the day, not Pele or Maradona, if you had to choose, any player back in the day?
Van Basten who got injured early but he was a super talent. In Milan he was fantastic.
Pele or Maradona?
Pele maybe because he is the king of Samba, to be so short but score against Italian defenders. It is something in the World Cup.
We didn’t expect to hear that from an Italian, considering the Maradona playing his golden years in Napoli. But oh well, if our friend Paolo can do it at 65! What is stopping you?
If you see him in the Turf be sure to say hi, he is one of the nicest persons there and perhaps he can teach you a thing or two from the old timer.
The Korean who learned how to play football in Manila
Student: Ateneo de Manila BS Psychology
Peter was born and raised in Korea and came here in 2004 with his family. Peter loved football in Korea, but was not able to play. When he got here, football was not that big and had no opportunities to play. He played basketball in school because there was no other sport, so one day he stumbled across Football Manila’s post on facebook and decided to give it a go back in December 2016. Now has been playing ever since.
“It has been his passion since he was a boy.”
Do you think you are ready to play in open play?
No not yet, I need to learn more, I am not good in kicking far. Hardest thing will be dribbling and kick hard shots.
Esther and Nadine: The spikers turned kickers!
Student: Dentistry Student at the University of the East
Nadine is a Volleyball player started playing the sport in College for University of the East (UE) for 3 years. She did not compete because of her studies but plays because of her passion for the sport.
How did you come across football?
Found out about football because of her friend Jeane and has been playing in Chelsea Wednesdays for a month now. I also watched a game of my older sister who plays with advance players in open play in BGC.
What do you find the hardest in terms of learning the sport?
Ball control is the hardest, also handling and shooting. Only found out I was a righty (right-footed), after I started playing.
Esther is a student in De La Salle University (DLSU) taking up of European Studies but moving to UP Diliman for Fine Arts. She plans to quit volleyball to focus more on studying. She played volleyball under Coach Ramil de Jesus for 3 years. Esther did not go to a regular school but rather home schooled because her parents wanted her to play sports. She has been playing football since she was 4 years old and has had the privilege of playing in Army and Kaya academies and even went on a football tour in Denmark at the age of 12. Her friend Nadine brought her along and has been playing again ever since.
Captain of the Green Booters
With the DLSU booters having a very challenging first round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP 79) ending 6th out of Universities (Ateneo De Manila University, Far Eastern University, University of the Philippines, National University, Adamson University, University of the East and University of Santo Tomas). We decided to reach out to the Captain of DLSU to find out more about his view about football in general and playing his last year in the prestigious collegiate competition.
Inigo ‘Ñace’ Gonzales (Green Booters’ Captain)
Major: Industrial Management Engineering
How long have you been playing football as a sport?
I’ve been playing football since I was 8 years old in my PAREF Southridge playing for Juventus.
What attracted you to it?
My parents always told me I was full of energy and never stopped running around the house so my mom put me into football where all I did was run and kick a ball. It was the perfect sport for me.
What is your position?
My best position is Winger but in DLSU I have played as a winger, central midfielder, striker and for Loyola and Stallions I would play wingback at times.
How many years have you been playing UAAP?
I’m on my 5th playing year now, which makes this my last UAAP season
How was it adjusting to the level of college football?
It’s much more physically demanding as I was used to. The aggression and the relentless pressing is what shocks you at first.
How do you feel about the current season for the archers?
It’s a challenging season which will be tough for us.
What was your best memory in football?
Going to Barcelona camp and playing with different players from different countries while being taught by Barcelona coaches how to play the “Barca way”.
If you could advice your “rookie self” or any rookie for life in Taft as Green Booter, what would it be?
When you enter the DLSU team you are not just entering a team but you are making a new family. They will be there for you anytime and anywhere especially during your breaks in class cause in school they will be the people you hang out with the most.
What are some of the things you will miss the most about life as a DLSU booter?
Fighting for school pride and living the Animo Spirit. Football isn’t too big yet in the Philippines but when it comes to representing the school, the university body has got your back.
How do you see the next generation of Philippine Footballers?
I see more skill coming out of the new generation as there are more opportunities to grow as a player. When I was young, it wasn’t training or drills that made me the player I am today but the experiences I was exposed to by playing with different styles, players, teams, competitions, etc.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now as a player (or in relation to the sport)?
I see myself still playing but not competitively but rather just enjoying the sport I loved from a very young age.
We wish you all the best Ñace in your last UAAP charge and we hope to seeing you play in the future in one of the leagues or open play sessions.
Team Profile: Never United
With its rivalry roots dating back long time ago between the Blue Eagles of Ateneo de Manila University and the Green Archers of De La Salle University, we found it fascinating that there is a team that comprises of players from both schools who competed against one another not too long ago in the UAAP. Never United is undoubtedly a force in the WFL Champions division. To understand more about the club we decided to reach out to the manager of the club, Manu Cuevas.
What does Never United stand for?
Never United stands for a team formed by players from Ateneo and La Salle
Why was it created and how? By whom?
Never United was created during a 7 aside tournament last Aug 2013. We (mostly Ateneo players) vs Señor Boleros (players from Lasalle / St. Benilde). Both teams faced each other and agreed to join WFL and form a team and the winner of that game would be the team to be registered in the WFL. Never United won 5-0!
What is your vision and mission?
We just want to play the beautiful game with our old time rivals / friends every weekend.
Who are the members/players of Never United?
Ex- alumni from Ateneo / Lasalle / Benilde like: Adrian Lustre, James Arco, Gerard Cancio, Gino Tongson, Anton Amistoso, Yu Murayuma, Alex Zayco, Kevin Gepaya, Dwight Bagabuyo, Karl Baquiran, Luigi Celdran, Miguel Montelibano… and many more. We added some players from UP like Miguel Roy and Jay Eusebio
How is it playing in the top division in the WFL?
We play in WFL and every year our division gets tougher and stronger. More players from UFL are coming to our league and it gets competitive. We play in the CFL mix division as well as part of our preparation during off season.
What was the best moment of Never United as a Club?
Season 2015-16 when we ended up 2nd behind the all mighty Kaya Elite and Champions of WFL 7’s
What are the plans moving forward for the club?
No plans yet since there will be a major reform in our league. For the meantime we will try to join other 7 aside tournaments.
Other interesting details, features or stories of the Club?
Our Christmas parties are memorable.
So you have it, if you do end up facing Never United in the Corporate Football League (CFL) or other pick up tournaments be sure to know you are facing a team full of former UAAP players.
What is next?
We hope by our next release, the new leagues will be not as blurry as they are now but one thing for sure is, the excitement for what is about to unfold in the new Era of Philippine Football. UAAP 79 is already on the second round. WFL season 2016-17 is done, only left with the Semi Final of the WFL Cup this weekend with Manhur FC, Manila Tala FC, BSM Leons and Kaya Lite left to battle it out. We wish Ceres Bacolod and Global FC both success in their AFC Cup run.We will have more snapshots and updates on local leagues and the AFC. Also insights of team profiles, players and football efforts around the country FM 360 way.