Bernardo M. Villegas
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Forming the Youth Through Football (Part 2)

          Led by very successful entrepreneur Danny Moran (founder of Red Ribbon and current operator of Amici and Cara Mia Restaurants), THVMF (which is named after Danny’s father who was an avid sportsman himself) fits to a T what the Pope had in mind about the role of sports in youth formation.  It states its vision as “Development through Sports.  We believe that the discipline and hard work involved in playing sports is an ideal way to develop character, skill and self-confidence—all of which are qualities needed to deal with real life.  It is with this philosophy, then, that we help the less fortunate by building football programs for children and teens, and building leaders in football coaches.”  Its mission includes developing communities, i.e. through its social programs, it works with social civic institutions, schools, and clubs in using sports as a means to help marginalized people in the Philippines; developing character, i.e. it is dedicated toward mentoring not just the underprivileged kids in its various programs, but also the coaches, referees, administrators, and families that are involved with its activities; fostering excellence and passion, i.e. it teaches the kids to be excellent in all that they do, and install in them the passion to persevere and push through any and all obstacles; and building leaders, i.e. through its coaches, administrators and programs, it is focused on building leadership qualities in the youth that will help them far into the future.

         The officials and members of THVMF practice what they preach about the need for community building and team spirit.  They always work with other similar-minded foundations or business corporations.  The foundation helped start and develop the football programs of Tuloy sa Don Bosco and Gawad Kalinga.  It made it possible for the Philippines to send teams to international events such as the 2008 and 2009 Homeless World Cups and the 2010 Streetchild World Cup. It has significantly increased its multiplier effects by working with Manila Boys’ Town in Marikina, Nayon ng Kabataan in Mandaluyong Football Club, Philippine Christian Foundation, Muntinlupa United Football Club, Sisters of Mary, Silang, Cavite as well as with Homeless World Cups, Melbourne and Milan.   It works very closely with the Department of Education and the Philippine Football Federation to develop the youth through futsal.  Its premier program with the greatest reach is the Liga Eskwela Futsal Program which encourages and supports underprivileged kids through sports, and at the same time helps promote the playing of futsal in public elementary schools throughout Metro Manila and eventually in other regions of the Philippines in the future.  Today, Liga Eskwela involves 300 public schools in 16 participating cities, 16 school divisions of the Department of Education and reaches 9,000 children and teens. 

         The local effort to promote the playing of football among Filipino children and youth through futsal will be given a big boost with the decision of the Henry V. Moran Foundation, together with the MVP Sports Foundation, Inspire Sports Academy and the Philippine Football Federation to bring to the country Dutch futsal coach Victor Jacobus Hermans, a global expert in the teaching of futsal.  Born in Maastricht, the Netherlands, Mr. Hermans managed 6 different national teams—the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Iran, Malta, Thailand and Indonesia.  He guided three of the teams to the World Cup.  When he was head coach for the national team of Iran, he helped it achieve a 100 percent win for seven matches, making them champions of Asia in 2001 Asian Championship.  From 2001 to 2007, he managed the national team of the Netherlands and took them to the European championship and one Grand Prix tournament.  As coach of the national team of Thailand, he helped them win four consecutive Asian Football Federation (AFF) Futsal championships from 2012 to 2015. 

         With the help of Coach Hermans, the THVMF conducted the AFC Level 1 Futsal Course on June 24 to 29, 2019.  Assisted by people in the academe, the Foundation is digitizing and bringing to life the futsal textbook written by Mr. Hermans.  This project involves filming Mr. Hermans with players conducting the drills and exercises of his book.  This will result in videos that can be propagated among as many schools interested in developing a futsal program.  To fully integrate a futsal program in the K-12 curriculum, the Foundation will develop materials for futsal for the Sports Track of Senior High School in collaboration with the Department of Education.  Mr. Hermans can also help develop other possible programs for the Physical Education courses at all levels of the K-12 curriculum with futsal as a basic sport.  If these plans are implemented with the help of some academic institutions, futsal training will become embedded in our school system, especially in the public schools which account for 80 percent of the enrolment at the basic education level.  Through this grassroots approach to spreading the playing of futsal, football will no longer be a sport for the exclusive or elite schools.  There will also be a very big base of future quality players that can enhance the Philippine chances of winning in international tournaments as well as an even bigger base of spectators and fans who can appreciate the intricacies of the beautiful game.  (To be continued)