Creating Champions Through Football

Young football players at the 18th Football Cup

Young football players at the 18th Football Cup

300 Teams. 4,200 Players. 29 Football Fields.

It’s the 18th Alaska Football Cup. 

Despite having been rescheduled, and the withdrawals of some teams due to super typhoon Yolanda that hit Metro Manila and most parts of the Visayas region, still, a remarkable number of teams and players have participated in the 18th Alaska Football Cup which was held on December 7 – 8, 2013 at Alabang Country Club. Alaska Football Cup is open to boys and girls, 6 to 16 years old. Men’s and Ladies’ Open categories were also included to accommodate various college, corporate and non – corporate football teams. For the record, the 18th Alaska Football Cup is the biggest event to date. And it is just fitting to say that the entire archipelago – from Luzon, Visayas and as far as Mindanao, was well represented. 

Distinguished football players and teams joined participated in the two – day event for a weekend of fun, camaraderie, and healthy competition among different teams. Tondo Futkaleros was one of the teams that played in the Men’s Open category. One team named their group as Suplado FC. Sounds familiar, yeah? I thought there’s only one Suplado and that’s in the running community. But I was wrong. Notably, teams from Mindanao area saw some challenges bringing their players to Manila due to budgetary constraints. However, such did not deter the young players to lose their focus in every game they play. 

Players as young as 6 years old withstood the heat of the midday sun, chasing and kicking the football with gusto aiming for the goal. Young champions stood out from among the many players in each age group category as the games progress from eliminations to the final matches. Each perfect kick or a goal merits the loudest cheers from the crowds, mostly parents, friends and supporters of the players. While the children played for their respective teams, parents and supporters lined up along the side lines, and even near the goal, cheering for their young champions. They would soon change positions with the parents of the other team as soon as the second half starts. 

Football, as a sport, transcends language and ethnicity, and even gender. Regardless what dialect or language the players speak, and the place they came from, everyone showed the spirit if sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline, hard work and determination. Some girls can play at par, or even better than the boys! Everyone played a fair game and as each game was played, you can see some disappointments depicted in the faces of the losing team; and overwhelming joy flashes across the faces of the winning team. And in the words of Alaska Football Cup Project Director Tomas Lozano, “Alaska Football Cup is becoming more competitive.” 

There could be a sense of competition among the players and the teams, yet, you can see a child in each one of them. They shook hands like the game was an acquaintance party, not really minding who lost or who won. 

As each event the day comes to a close and the final matches were all played, recognition is given to the top four teams in each age group category for a job well done. The worldcup-esque ambiance is imminent as medals were distributed to the team holding the fourth spot, the teams who placed third and second received a bronze and silver medals, respectively, plus a team trophy. The Champion received gold medals and the most coveted team trophy. And for an excellent performance, one player from the winning team gets awarded as the Most Valuable Player. The MVP also receives a trophy. 

Renard Yu, who played for Xavier School, was hailed as the Most Valuable Player when their team won in the Boys 10 category. Being awarded as the MVP, “I feel good, because I never took home a trophy”, he shares. 

“I couldn’t have scored any of them if my team mates didn’t help,” he further added. 

And as supportive parents, Mr. Robert and Mrs. Sally Yu were quick to add that with the training schedules, they “made sure that there is ample time for academics.” 

Champions just don’t excel on one aspect of their lives. They excel in both skills and character. Through various sports programs, Alaska hopes to instil the right moral virtues among children to help them achieve their full potential in sports, in school, and in life in general. 

For more information on Alaska Sports Program, please log on to
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