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  • The Younghusband Football Academy : Setting the Foundations of Football in the Philippines

    Brothers Phil and James tell us what they think of their Filipino teammates, their vision for the sport, and what makes Filipino parents different.
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
  • LDS: At what age can kids start playing football?

    Phil:
    If someone is strong enough to walk and kick … we have players who are three- and four-years old.  Obviously it’s just about having fun and running around, seeing a ball and touching a ball.  We have (in our training) a section where you’re just kicking a ball, touching it.  For young kids, it’s fun and ideal.

    LDS: So why put up the Academy in the Philippines and not elsewhere?

    Phil:
    Everywhere else, football is already popular, it’s the biggest sport in the world.  We feel there is room for improvement.  We are Filipinos so the Philippines is an ideal place to promote football and get ready to win.

    James:
    We saw so much potential to play.  That guy who scored our first goal into Mongolia, Emelio Caligdong is not the biggest player but he grew up here and he has the potential to knock the ball over one guy and knock it for the goal with his legs.  To me that’s a world-class goal right there at international levels.  There’s so much potential.

    Phil:
    He’s easily our smallest player yet he is one of our best players, and that shows how Filipinos can really succeed in football.

    James :
    Imagine what it could be like if he had that world-class coaching.

    Phil:
    If he had good facilities and good coaching, he could be a great player.

    LDS: Is that your vision?  How big will the Academy become?

    Phil:
    For us it’s about creating many opportunities for kids in football.  In England we were playing 60 to 70 games a year whereas kids here probably have 10 or 15 games.  It’s not enough if you really want to succeed and be good at something.  We try and have as many training sessions and tournaments as possible just to create opportunities for playing because we believe whether you’re talented or not, the more you are exposed to it the better you will become.

    LDS: You had a one-day football clinic last February 19. Do you have any more schedules coming up?

    Phil:
    We want a more regular thing so we’re looking for a home for the Football Academy, somewhere where everyone can be, in the middle of the Philippines where a lot of people can get to.  The clinic was just a short-term activity, but we have long-term plans for the Academy, we want everything to be long-term.  No definite schedules yet but once we have a home for football we can have a schedule where there’s training regularly throughout the whole year.

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    Read more about our interview with James and Phil Younghusband in the next page.

     

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