Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fair Play: English Soccer School in Cebu

IF things go according to plan, Cebu could have an English Soccer School, soon.
Last Friday, I met Englishman James Raj and Rich, who are planning to put up an English Soccer School at Bright Academy, a local school that slowly established a footballing tradition.

Aside from boasting of FA and Uefa qualified coaches, the ESS, which has already established schools in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, has some solid A-listers in its staff, like their technical director Keith Boanas and Pauline Cope.

Keith used to be the assistant director for coaching in the David Beckham Academy—yep, that David Beckham—and is currently the technical director for women’s and girl’s football of Estonia.  He’s also the lead educator of the FA. (The FA, of course, is the Football Association, and there’s only one group in the world that simply calls itself the FA without attaching a country to it and that’s the oldest FA in the world.)

And Keith also taught Simon McMenemy, the former Philippine coach who was at one time, the youngest national team coach in the world.
Pauline is the most experienced female goalkeeper of England and is a Hall of Fame inductee. She’s a Uefa B license coach who’s won the FA Cup, Premier League Cup and the Champioships.

And James is planning to bring the two to Cebu next month.
“It’s going to be one big free demo for two days,” said James, who added the two-day clinic would be open to footballers and coaches of all ages.

But once the ESS Cebu gets established, it won’t be for free and the price, projected at P900 per session, would be out of reach for majority of the kids.

Though the group is planning to establish base at Bright Academy, their target market is not limited to the school as they are planning to invite students from other private schools to enroll at their academy.

And since there are a lot of British expats in Cebu, and private schools that don’t have a football program, the ESS is sure to attract students.

The ESS, too, has some attractive plans as it has linkages with a few top-tier English clubs and US universities and can offer football scholarships to deserving kids.

I told James that the price range is out of reach for the poor footballers and he said they can offer “assisted placements” or scholarships, too, to deserving kids.

All these things are still in the planning stages and I wish ESS the best of luck as it tries to establish a foothold in the local football scene.

I don’t have much experience with football academies so I can’t compare ESS with others.
Will it be worth it? I don’t know. But what I like is that the ESS Cebu could be the starting point of the FA’s involvement with Cebu, and even, Philippine football.

Who knows what the next step would be.

UFL. Global FC got a step closer to defending its title with a  1-0 win over the tough Pachanga squad last Saturday. Joshua Fegidero let loose a cannon late in the second half but Paolo Pascual was up to the task and pulled a brilliant save.
Here’s what Global coach Graeme Mackinnon posted after the win.
“It wasn’t pretty and some of the time it was downright ugly. But a win is a win and if I have to choose between an ugly 1-0 win and a pretty loss I know which one I will choose.”

1 comment:

Martin Lowry said...

Great news for kids in Cebu but 900p a session! Lets hope the coaches take some free coaching sessions around the City. You never know what football gems are out there waiting to be uncovered.