More than just skills, participants to Milo Philippines’ Road To Barcelona will be taught the values of humility, effort, ambition, respect, and teamwork, officials said in a press conference at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel today.
About 160 boys and girls from all over the country will gather at the Cebu City Sports Centre this weekend for a football camp by coaches from the renowned FC Barcelona Youth Academy. The Road To Barcelona, a partnership between Milo and FC Barcelona, is now on its 2nd year.
The participants, who are all from 10 to 12 years old, will be trained to play football the “Barca way” by Jordi Aguilar and Albert Batalla. That involves training on ball skills, keeping possessions, and the vaunted tiki-taka system of possession play and passes, Aguilar said.
Values of teamwork
But more than these skills are values like teamwork, Aguilar said. As example, he cited their practice of a group celebration of victories and goals to recognize that achievements are by group effort and not of the individual alone.
Milo Philippines will pick 7 players from the 160 that it will bring to Spain for a 9-day training camp in Camp Nou in Barcelona, the home of FC Barcelona.
Milo Philippines Consumer Marketing Manager Robbie de Vera said, “Milo is very excited and honored to continue its advocacy to get more kids into sports and help advance Philippine football with FC Barcelona. Our goal for this year is to further enrich the ‘Road to Barcelona’ experience by reaching more Filipino kids and reinforcing the values that encourage more kids to dream big and become champions in life.”
The event is done in partnership with the Cebu Football Association (CFA).
Improve local football
CFA board member Nimrod Quiñones said events like Road to Barcelona help improve the level of local football. He said local coaches will be helping during the 2-day camp and would also be picking up lessons and tips that they will bring to their respective clubs and schools.
Quiñones said during the press conference that there is noticeable improvement in the skills of the current crop of young football players compared with their age group a few years back. He credited this to programs like those undertaken by Milo.
De Vera said they will pick the players to bring to Spain based on an evaluation process that takes into account 70% values and 30% skills.
Organizers said Cebu was chosen to host the event because it is among the football hotbeds in the country. The province has the most number of licensed football coaches, de Vera said. It also had the most number of participants to the program, he added.
Also present in today’s press conference was Ethan Jacob Roxas of Paref-Springdale. Roxas was among the players brought to Spain by Milo in the inaugural Road To Barcelona last year. Roxas said the program allows young football players like him play with athletes on a higher skills level.