Poor kids build future with football-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
MOLDING kids to be better individuals has always been the passion of Cebuano Peter Amores, who left the corporate world years ago to introduce boys and girls to the beautiful game of football in 2006.
This passion brought him to rough neighborhoods like Tondo in Manila, where some children used poverty as an excuse for committing crime.
Armed with the belief that sports can change lives, Amores partnered with spouses Francisco and Joyce Dizon, who staged on Sunday the 4th Kopa ng Pagsilang in honor of their late son Miguel G. Dizon, a former member of the Ateneo de Manila High School soccer team.
But the event was not played on the pitch as more than 100 kids from different areas in Metro Manila used the basketball courts of the Don Bosco Youth Center in Tondo to demonstrate futkal (football sa kalye), the country’s version of street football.
“Futkal is more of instilling national pride because it’s an original Filipino term that translates to football sa kalye (in the streets). We may not be big in the football scene, but there’s something growing and developing that will eventually lead to football as a sport for the masses just like in other nations,” said Amores, who once saw action for the men’s national futsal squad in the 2007 Southeast Asian Games in Thailand.
Amores, founder of non-government organization Futkal, Inc., was happy that the tournament has grown since its inception in late 2010 as this would mean more children who wanted to rise from adversities.
One of those kids was 15-year-old Romar Gallardo, who lives in a depressed community in fast-rising business district, Taguig City.
Gallardo never had an idea how to play football until last September, when nuns from Laura Vicuña Foundation, Inc. encouraged disadvantaged kids to channel their energies to the sport through the help of the Dizon family.
“Aside from having fun, football teaches us how to value teamwork and good communication. It’s a good physical exercise as well because you have to sprint to catch bad guys,” said Gallardo, an aspiring policeman.
“We learned how to appreciate our opponents too,” added John Paul Nangka, Gallardo’s teammate in Laura Vicuña’s under-15 squad.
Both Gallardo and Nangka were hoping that football can help them get through college on scholarship, that’s why they are honing their dribbling, passing and juggling skills each day.
“Noon, grabe magmura ang mga bata. Ayaw nila maglaro. Naging rule namin na huwag magmura, ayun umepekto naman. Maliban sa natututo sila maglaro ng football, it has become a venue to build their character (Before the kids cursed a lot. They don’t want to play. We made it a rule not to swear, and there it had an effect. Aside from learning football...),” said Sr. Aleth Evangelista, the team chaperone.
Fourteen teams (eight for under-15 and six for under-12) sweated in several matches.
At the end of the day, the Youth Development Program-A took home the under-15 title, while Dream Big Pilipinas copped the under-12 trophy.
Winners in skills challenge and outstanding players were also recognized including Regine Rebosura of Payatas FC, who bested the boys in the under-12 category.
In her speech, Dizon thanked the kids for their participation and challenged them to do better.
She said Miguel, whose life was cut short by brain aneurysm in November 2008, would be glad to see the children learning his sport.
Miguel would have turned 29 on Monday. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.