Thursday, July 09, 2015

Fair Play: How about a CFA, Cesafi experiment for women's football?

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's July 9 edition)
ONE of the dreams of most parents whose daughters are into football is to see women’s football in college. Having the game as one of the events in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. would mean partial, if not full, scholarships for their daughters.

But women’s football in Cebu hasn’t been in the college scene for years and the only women’s collegiate team, the University of San Carlos, has long disbanded its squad because of a lack of tournament.

How then can we make that dream come true?

Shooting for a women’s collegiate division in Cesafi is a futile exercise, because right now, there are no college teams. Although USC can come up with one if it has too, but it would be an automatic champion since it won’t have any other foes.

The schools that regularly compete in girls football in Cebu are the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, St. Theresa’s College, Sacred Heart School-Hijas de Jesus and the University of San Carlos. Of the four, only SHS-Ateneo and USC are Cesafi members.

I know there are some players from Cebu Doctors’ University, University of Cebu, and the University of San Jose-Recoletos and Velez College, but most compete for clubs, not their schools.

The first step in having women’s football back in the college scene is to have girls’ football in the Cesafi. Nope, the league doesn’t even have to require all the schools to field teams and this is where the Cebu Football Association can step in.

For a start, instead of college or high school division, the CFA can suggest to Cesafi to hold a 9-a-side Girls 18-Under division, this way the freshmen at USC can compete with the high school seniors of SHS-Ateneo. Then include as guest teams non-Cesafi members SHS-Hijas and St. Theresa’s College. That’s already four sure teams already, and for an initial tournament, that’s not bad. And if Velez and CDU can also field one each, that’s six teams, which is one more than the men’s division.

The purpose of this of course is to test whether girls football is viable and whether Cebu already has enough players.

The Cesafi and the CFA can start with this setup, but eventually, the girls won’t be Under 18 forever and will move to college, perhaps by that time, the Universities will have enough players for a women’s team.

Having women’s football in the college division is a dream for most, but unless steps are taken, it will remain a dream.

I think now is the perfect time for a little experiment.

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