Philippine football

LaLiga solidifies commitment to help promote football in the Philippines 

Juro Morilla

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LaLiga solidifies commitment to help promote football in the Philippines 

KICK. Sarina Bolden in action for the Philippine women's football team.

Mia Montayre/PFF

Developing grassroots, hosting future competitions, and improving infrastructure are the main objectives discussed in the first-ever LaLiga Extra Time event in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – In an effort to lift and expand the football community in the Philippines, LaLiga, a private sports organization based in Spain, recently organized the first-ever LaLiga Extra Time event in the country at the Society Lounge in Makati City on Tuesday, April 30. 

The event was divided into four parts as numerous football personalities and stakeholders talked about developing the grassroots program in the country, hosting future competitions, and improving the football infrastructures all over the Philippines. 

“To uplift and create more awareness in terms of football, that’s the main general aspect where our values are aligned,” said Coco Torre, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) director of football competitions and Philippines Football League (PFL) commissioner.

“We always are in constant talks and we touched on several important points, number 1, growing the sport in terms of, like I said, awareness and exposure,” explained Torre as he talked about the budding partnership with LaLiga.

“Number 2 is improving the sport in terms of technical initiatives like for example, Spain, where LaLiga is, is an advanced country in terms of football already so they come here and share with us or share with our technical officials their know-hows or the latest trends, not only in the coaching-technical aspects, but in terms of mass media, social media.”

“And importantly, they also help us in terms of strategy making on how we want to drive football further,” shared Torre, who also expressed his appreciation for LaLiga’s steady presence in the Philippines. 

In terms of the grassroots programs, Torre said that it was “good” to have LaLiga around to guide them in this aspect as the Spaniards are very knowledgeable on how it should be properly implemented.

“LaLiga is a reputable brand and when you hear such reputable brand, you’re encouraged to participate,” said Torre.

Football from the grassroots up

Aside from having the inaugural LaLiga Extra Time event in the Philippines, Torre pointed out that LaLiga has already started taking necessary steps to help boost the football community in the country.

In December 2023, Villarreal CF, a football club playing in Spain’s top division, opened a new academy in the Philippines to aid the level of youth football in the country. 

“They are a very family-centered, community-based development so I believe it is perfect to what we have here in the Philippines, they are able to develop kids and professionals by using their methodology of having good value, good tactical game IQ,” said Villarreal Philippines Academy Director Eumir Siao when asked about the importance of having a Villarreal academy in the country.

He added, “All these methodologies go hand in hand with bringing the best players so I think it was a no-brainer for us to bring Villarreal here in the Philippines given that these are the qualities that we see that’s fit for the Filipinos.”

Tiago Mendes, a former Portugal international and long-time Atletico Madrid midfielder, visited the Philippines to participate in hosting an El Derby watch party early 2023, while Nacho Monreal, a former Spain international and Arsenal stalwart, also dropped by in December 2023 to compete in the Legends Asian Tour and interact with Filipinos.

In addition to devising different plans to boost the grassroots, LaLiga also partnered with the Philippines to host the second leg of the LaLiga Youth Tournament, which will be held on the from October 18 to 20.

Building new infrastructures – specifically new stadiums for the local professional football teams – is also being eyed by Torre for the PFL. “Infrastructure plays a very vital role in terms of league development, not only for the league, but for the clubs.”

“Imagine the infrastructure or your stadium is where you train, where you develop your grassroots and eventually where you defend your turf so imagine being based in your dream stadium, that is your home and inviting the fans there as good hosts,” he added.

As for partnering with LaLiga on the construction of new football facilities throughout the country, Torre said that there are no concrete plans yet. “Maybe they can give us ideas, insights or strategy, parang ganoon (something like that), but I mean, if they’re willing to find investors for us, then well and great ‘di ba (right)?”

Aside from Torre and Siao, Dave Javellana, Candice Grey Del Rosario, Paul Tolentino, Alejandro Marquez, Ed Pasion, Rely San Agustin, Clifford Academia, Jose Miguel Valmayor, Ivan Codina, and Javier López-Sanz were all present to complete the cast of the first ever LaLiga Extra Time event in the Philippines. –

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