Payatas FC celebrates one year

Natashya Gutierrez
A new drop-in center for the children of Payatas opens 365 days after their football club was formed.

MANILA, Philippines – Children from Metro Manila’s largest dumspite gather every Sunday to play football in their baranggay basketball court.

They come barefoot, armed with nothing but huge smiles.

But this Sunday morning, February 26, is slightly different.

They come, still beaming, still ready to kick the ball around, but it is a special day.

It has been a year since Payatas Football Club was born, the brainchild of British volunteers Roy Moore and Naomi Tomlinson. The two are co-directors of the Fairplay For All Foundation (FFA) and coaches of the Payatas FC, which gives less privileged children the chance to play football.

This morning, awards are handed out to the players for a succesful football year, and more importantly, it is opening day of a new drop-in center for the kids of Payatas.

The drop-in center, in the words of Tomlinson, “will be a place where the kids can be kids.” The center will offer educational programs for the children, and at the very least, a space to allow the kids to escape the stress of every day life.

PROGRAM STARTS. Naomi Tomlinson of Payatas FC starts the awards program for the players. February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

AZKALS ASSIST. Azkals players Lexton Moy and Nate Burkey help hand awards to the children of Payatas FC. February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

YOUNG STAR. Althea Rebosura shows off her Young Player of the Year award. February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

MEDIA MATCH. Sports journalists play football with the U-11 football team. February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

FRIENDLY GAME. Azkals players Lexton Moy and Nate Burkey play with Payatas U-13 kids. February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

CHILDREN'S SPACE. Azkal Lexton Moy cuts the ribbon for the new drop-in center, a space where "kids can be kids." February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

REFUGE. The drop-in center is a space that offers educational programs for the children. February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

WALL OF FAME. The drop-in center has a wall filled with photos from football tournaments that Payatas FC has played in. February 26, 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

LEAVING A MARK. The drop-in center hopes to make a difference in the lives of the Payatas FC children, whose handprints are painted on the walls. February 26. 2012. Natashya Gutierrez.

Rappler.com

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