Football fever may soon take over the next generation of Filipinos after short stint in Barcelona

Milo welcomed the return of the 10 young athletes who trained in Barcelona, Spain as part of their joint initiative with FC Barcelona (FCB) joint initiative. The team completed a prestigious program where they trained, learned, and played football in a global camp held at the FCB Youth Academy from Nov. 4 to 12.

“We are delighted to fulfill the dreams of these 10 talented football players who have not only shown us the right skills but also the values of humility, effort, ambition, respect, and teamwork,” says Robbie De Vera, Milo Philippines consumer marketing manager. “Seeing their faces light up with excitement from the moment they stepped foot in Camp Nou to their interactions with coaches and fellow players from around the world has been a great honor to witness. We are happy to be a part of the journey that will hopefully inspire these kids and others to pursue their passions.”

The Philippine team were comprised of the following:

  1. Lien Dale D. Manuel (Vicente Lim Elementary School)
  2. Alexander David C. Villarosa (University of San Jose-Recoletos)
  3. Breindel O. Medina (Ateneo De Davao Junior High School)
  4. Heaven Andrei N. Teodosio (Ilaya Barangka Integrated School of Mandaluyong City)
  5. Tristan Ybanez (Sacred Heart School Ateneo De Cebu)
  6. Juan Pablo S. Unlay (Ateneo De Manila)
  7. Dylan Theodore O. Wong (Keys School Manila)
  8. Carlo Antonio D. Bongocan (Rosevale School)
  9. Jelena Loren I. Soon (Singapore School Cebu)
  10. Daniel Isaac N. Cagaanan (Koronadal Central Elementary School I)

Team Philippines with an FCB Youth Academy coach

The junior booters were immersed in a series of training sessions with FC Barcelona Youth Academy’s football coaches, both on the pitch at Ciutat Esportivo, the home of La Masia, and in the classroom at Camp Nou together with delegates from Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Maldives, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.

The training sessions are based on the Barça methodology that includes a creative passing and attacking brand of football while underscoring the importance of positive values. The young footballers got to apply their learnings in a friendly match with the young players of Fundacion Marcet Football Academy. But the ultimate experience was their exclusive training with former Brazil and Barça player and legend Juliano Belletti as well as seeing their FC Barcelona idols in the flesh when they played versus Betis in a La Liga match.

A Treasured Experience

The Philippine delegates with FCB Youth Academy coaches and FCB legend Juliano Belletti (center)

Without a doubt, this was truly one of the kids’ most memorable trips in their athletic journey.

“This was beyond my wildest dreams,” says Lien Dale Manuel, 11. “I’ve always wished to be in the same football arena where my idol Lionel Messi played. I am so glad it became a reality. I have learned a lot of things and I can’t wait to share it to my teammates.” Manuel is a member of the Tondo Futkaleros who is best known as the “junior coach” as he teaches basic football lessons to four to five-year-olds in his Tondo neighborhood. Manuel was also recruited to play for the Ceres Negros Youth FC.

Daniel Cagaanan, a 12-year-old from Koronadal City Football Club admits that this experience has boosted his self-confidence as a burgeoning football player: “With the new football knowledge I’ve learned, I will be able to train myself better in the future.”

“This was beyond my wildest dreams,” says Lien Dale Manuel, 11. “I’ve always wished to be in the same football arena where my idol Lionel Messi played. I am so glad it became a reality. I have learned a lot of things and I can’t wait to share it to my teammates”

“This is one of the most thrilling moments Jelly has ever experienced,” says John Soon, father of 11-year-old Jelena Loren Soon who is also with USPC Panthers FC and the Cebu Elite Girls Team. “In this trip, I’ve seen her progress into a well-rounded individual as she learned and developed her skills while exhibiting great sportsmanship among her peers.”

“We also hope that these kids can share their experience and learnings to help uplift Philippine football and build ambition for others to reach for their dreams,” says De Vera.