MANILA, Philippines – For a country where basketball has been the dominant sport for a very long time, football is quickly gaining ground thanks to the Philippine football team Azkals and the popular Younghusband brothers, Phil and James.
Now they are looking to spread their passion for the sport by establishing the first ever football school in the Philippines, The Younghusband Football Academy (TYFA), through a partnership with Chelsea Football Club.
“I think this is a sign showing that football isn’t a fad in the Philippines and the progression of football is continuing,” Phil Younghusband said during a press conference April 16.
“We’ve had ups and downs in the Philippines when it comes to football and certain things but we’re really glad that football is getting there. This is a really big step in the Philippines and were really proud to be a part of it,” James Younghusband said.
TYFA will start off by holding soccer camps for kids as young as four years old and teens as old as 16 years old, the first of which will run from April up to May.
Session will he held on April 17, 19, 24, 26, and on May 3, 8, 10 culminating in a graduation ceremony on May 15 that will be held at the SM Mall of Asia and will be attended by Neil Bath, Academy manager of Chelsea Football Club, and Ian Woodruff from Chelsea Soccer School Hong Kong.
There will be four age groups for students: 16 below, 12 below, 10 below and 8 below. There will be 20 up to 30 students in each age group and the student coach ratio will be 1:10.
Classes will be held at the Evia Football field, Daang Reyna, Las Pinas during the afternoon, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the 16 below and 12 below age groups, and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the 10 below and 8 below age groups.
Soccer coaches from around world will be brought in to teach the students, among them Dave Stewart from Chelsea Soccer School Hong Kong and Nenita Burgess from Fulham United Australia.
James and Phil graduated from the Chelsea Football Academy in England and will undertake training again to become eligible to coach and teach football in the Philippines.
“We’ll be able to take what we learned in England and be able to take that to the Philippines. And also with the help of [Paul Kam] and [Dave Stewart] to bring in even more to the Philippines,” Phil said.
“This is just the start, were looking forward for a long and successful relationship with Chelsea Football Club,” Phil said.
Soon they are looking to have a “blue pitch”, a soccer field that will be colored blue after Chelsea’s color, where the TYFA can hold their regular camps and sessions, Phil said. Eventually they will also have regular coaches and then classes where the science and theory of football can be taught, he added.
The fee for the summer camps is 8,500 inclusive of Chelsea practice t-shirts. Phil said that TYFA has partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Gawad Kalinga to provide scholarships to allow students who cannot afford the fee to enroll.
Phil said that they were not just looking at the kids who are in Metro Manila to enroll in the TYFA. “We want kids from all around the Philippines it experience it,” he said.
“It looks like a happy future for Philippine football,” Phil said.
When asked how long he thought it would take before the Philippines could compete in the international level, he said it might take 10 to 15 years.
“If you asked me two years ago, I would have said ‘a really really long time’,” Phil said. “But now, you’d never know. If it keeps progressing the way it is … who knows, it could take 10 to 15 years before we’re really at the top level,” he said.
For more information about TYFA visit http://theyounghusbandfootballacademy.com/ or call 0947-835-7519.