Monday, July 08, 2013

Fair Play: Meet Cebu's 15-year-old coach, manager

FOOTBALL is picking up in the Philippines and a lot of schools are hiring coaches and forming teams. But some still don’t have the resources to do so and some parents and students just accept the fact that they can’t form a team.

And then there’s Kevin Mahusay.

Just 15 years old, this third year high school student from St. Paul Learning Center decided to do what men twice his age are having a hard time doing, forming, managing and coaching his own football team.

I met Kevin during the football clinic of Paolo Pascual last year—his first cousin—last year and I never expected that the gangly kid who was the all-around utility boy in that clinic would make such a bold move.

And it’s all because of his passion for football.

“There weren’t that many players in our school and we didn’t have the chance to join as many tournaments. I also had a lot of friends who were interested in the sport but they didn’t have a team so I took matters into my own hands and made a team,” said Kevin, who I think will be the youngest coach/manager in the Cebu football scene.

So he told friends and classmates, who told other friends and classmates, that he was forming a team and the result is Sporting FC, a team of likeminded kids who practice anywhere they can and who would be making their debut in the Titans Cup on July 20 and 21.

I think it’s quite apt that they are making their debut in the Titans Cup, which is organized by Springdale. The school’s storied football history all started because a parent wanted his son to play football and look where the school is now.

And of course, Springdale’s most famous football alumnus? Kevin’s cousin, Paolo, who has suited up for the national U19, U22, U23, senior team and Global FC. And he’s very proud of his cousin.

“I told them to just keep that passion going because that passion for the game can lead them to great things,” said Paolo, who gave the team some drills when he joined their practice last Saturday. “I’m really proud of Kevin, grabe iya passion sa football.”

A passion that has led a 15-year-old to form his own team. Tell me, do you even remember doing anything remarkable when you were 15?

Of course, this isn’t the first team of teens formed by teens but previous teams were usually formed by players from one school who decided to join a tournament on their own after their school decided to skip one.

This one’s different.

It’s not easy being a student athlete but being a student, athlete, coach and manager?

“It’s tough, you have to check on the availability of the players regularly because they’re from different schools and they have their own plans. Then, I also make reservations for soccer fields,” said Kevin, the son of Joseli and Francisco.

So while most kids his age are busy queuing up for the latest blockbuster movie, he’s busy plotting schedules, joining coaches’ meeting and tweaking his lineup.

“But in the end. even though it’s hard, it’s all for the love of football,” he said.

Well done, Kevin!

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