The future looks promising for the Philippine football as the ball started rolling in the grassroots development program.
The Futbol Pilipinas Azkals Foundation, which started the “A Project” two years ago, marked a new milestone as 4 players from the program went to Phuket, Thailand to participate in a football scholarship tryout at the British International School in Phuket (BISP).
Karl Emery, Fonzy Escobin, Charles Harold and Dov Carino pave the way for young Filipino football players to secure youth football scholarships abroad.
“The goal of the Azkals Foundation is to develop young Filipino players to reach levels comparable to their foreign counterparts. To do this, our boys need to continuously compete against them so we can benchmark improvements of the program,” said Dan Palami, team manager of the Philippine Azkals.
This opportunity was made possible through the help of Borneo Cup organizer, Scott Ollerenshaw who saw potential in Filipino players during last year’s tournament. The prime mover of the yearly Borneo Cup tournaments in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia spotted player Karl Emery during the finals round of the U13 division last September 2015. He then offered to assist in opening up opportunities for the player to try-out in BISP. The foundation submitted CVs of other program mainstays identified to be high-level players for their age group.
The rest is history.
“Today we are proud to see these committed players try their luck in Thailand. There will be more opportunities like this for our youth players in the future. The important thing is to prepare them, year-round, to face tough challenges like this,” Palami said.
The boys will have to beat players from South America, Europe, Asia and across the globe to land a football scholarship in BISP.
Good thing, these players are not new to high-level football competition.
Fonzy, a product of the PruLife Youth Football Program, was part of the U11 team that was sent to train in UK last 2013 by the British Council. He also played for the U14 national team last year and was named MVP in last summer’s UFL Youth Cup – U13 division, won by Global FC.
Charles, on the other hand, has participated twice in Borneo Cup 2014 and 2015, having the experience to play against high level youth players. Dov, like Charles, was part of Borneo Cup 2014/2015 and was part of the SUPERMOKH 2015 – U12 team of Global FC that beat a club team in Thailand and drew against Iran, Korea and Malaysia during last December’s tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
“The foundation will announce and implement more programs in 2016 and in the years to come as we are committed to what we started 2 years ago. Someday, our senior men’s national team, the Philippine Azkals, will showcase more homegrown Filipino players as proof that our grassroots development program is successful,” Palami said.
To inquire about summer football training camps being organized by the Azkals Foundation, contact Tom Carpio at 0917-5063511 or Venus Fajardo at 0915-8430996.
Photo caption: From left – Azkals Foundation youth players Fonzy Escobin, Dov Carino, Charles Harold and Karl Emery