National team mainstays Philip and James Younghusband aim to nurture and develop a new generation of Filipino football players with the launch of The Younghusband Football Academy.
The two brothers are products of the successful Chelsea Football Club program in England and rose through its ranks, giving them the skills and experience that proved pivotal in the Azkals’ phenomenal campaign in last year’s Asean Suzuki Cup.
“There is a great feeling when one plays for the team and for the country, but Phil and I get a different kind of fulfillment seeing how our students learn,” James said. “The Filipino kids pick up so quickly.”
They added that they opened the TYFA not only to impart their knowledge and expertise to budding football hopefuls, but also as a tribute to their late father, Philip James, who passed away in 2003 and was responsible to introducing them to the sport.
“When he passed away in 2003, we wanted to do something more meaningful and significant in his honor,” said the Younghusbands, who have made the Philippines their permanent home since then.
On top of their Chelsea experience, both brothers also have solid coaching credentials with Phil, a striker, having a Level 2 UEFA coaching badge while James, an attacking midfielder, has a level 1 UEFA coaching badge.
Phil and James started the academy in January 2010 way before the recent success of the national team and used last year as a learning experience for Philippine football.
"Last year gave us the opportunity to see what was realistic, what could be done and the areas to tap to promote football in the Philippines," Phil said.
With the success of the nationals in the last Suzuki Cup, they said that the time was ripe for an organized, structured and “player-friendly” program that young Filipino boys and girls can participate in by joining the TYFA.
TYFA executive director Cathy Rivilla, said that several events and activities are lined up for the academy, which will kick off at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Ateneo College football grounds under the auspices of the Multiple Intelligence International School.
An awardee of the inaugural AFC Woman Match Commissioner of the Year in 2008, Rivilla disclosed that the MIIS is just one of what is expected to be several schools that has tasked the TYFA to handle its soccer program.
Rivilla said the following week is a two-day training of 150 Physical Education teachers in Tarlac from January 20 to 21, courtesy of Tarlac Gov. Jose “Aping” Yap.
The TYFA will also conduct football clinics, coaching courses, school and mall tours and has prepared grassroots educational modules for all interested parties.*PNA
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