By Luigi Bercades, Ph.D., Sports Science and Medicine
Anyone with the right sense for sports understands the importance of grassroots development. While many a sport association will bewail “lack of budget” first before lifting a finger, national futsal team’s Coach Rex is driven by his singular dream to cultivate the best possible pipeline of the country’s future players.
Born to Play
Many a Filipino parent see sports as a distraction to their children’s academic learning. Growing up, Xarex “Rex” Velasquez had to be “creative” in order to escape detection from his disapproving father: sneaking out his football shoes on Monday, then his socks the next day, until he completes his entire uniform for football practice. Only when he started winning his tournaments did Rex finally reveal himself, to the surprise of his family.
Though already a graduate of Business Administration at the Letran College, Rex continued to pursue football even after spending years in gainful employment. Finally, in 2010, together with childhood friends, Joy Dimacali and Eric Manalili, they created the Pilipinas Futsal Association (PFA), with blessing from the Futsal Committee of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
To whoever wanted to avail of their clinics, the three coaches often had to dig deep into their pockets and rely on their other sources of income. Over time, they developed a “menu” of offerings under their program banner “ONE GOAL PILIPINAS FUTSAL” – covering the spectrum of Futsal development that they will teach to a specific locality (as they had done in Subic, NCR and Naga City), which included:
- FUTSAL CLINIC FOR KIDS – for grassroots development of the youth in various barangays, dedicating covered courts or basketball courts for Futsal practice
- FUTSAL CARAVAN – to teach the youth, P.E. Teachers, and sports coordinators the rudiments of Futsal coaching, refereeing and organizing tournaments. For the Youth, to see coaching and refereeing as an alternative profession.
In its mere three years of organization, PFA currently has been able to produce an impressive track record in organizing various Futsal tournaments around the Philippines, such as Pilipinas Futsal Cup Winners Cup (PFCWC), Luzon Premier Futsal League (LPFL), Pilipinas Futsal Collegiate Champions League (PFCCL), Philippine Inter School Futsal Cup (PISFC) for Elementary, High School, College and the PFA Youth Futsal Cup. In so doing, forming partnerships with events and media companies, schools and international organizations.
“Together we will build the ‘House Of Futsal’ in the Philippines,” proclaims Velasquez. “We are not limited to just Futsal tournaments. We have a 10-year futsal development program and every year we have new projects to launch.”
“Pioneering regions NCR, Naga and Subic have already made considerable advances in their programs,” adds Velasquez. “In 2013 we launched the Pilipinas Futsal Collegiate Champions League. Each provincial coordinator can organize their own Provincial Inter-Collegiate
Tournament, in which the champion can advance to the National Finals.”
Editor’s Note: So why Futsal? Keep checking this site for Part 2 of this article. Through the author and the contact information below, SportPhil is in contact with different Futsal organizations abroad for possibilities of a futsal exchange program, tournament partnerships & various futsal projects.
For questions on Futsal in the Philippines, contact Coach Xarex Velasquez, www.pilipinasfutsal.com, Kick for G.O.A.L.S (G-reater O-pportunities for A-ll to L-earn & S-hare) or Pilipinas Futsal Association Facebook Page