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Philippine national football squad trains at Loughborough

Loughborough University has played host to the Philippine Under 11 boys’ football team, and supported their long term goal of qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Under 17 World Cup.

The British Council, in partnership with the Philippine Football Federation, sponsored the three week education and sports training camp.

During their stay the players received coaching from the University’s football programme and sports education classes based at Loughborough College.

The idea for the team to come to Loughborough originated from a visit by a Philippine delegation last year arranged by the University’s International Office.

Alec Ladanga, Programme and Partnership Development Manager at the British Council Philippines, explains:

“We attended a UK study tour in March 2012 with the Philippine Sports Commission and other government departments.  As part of this we were given a tour of Loughborough University and we were really impressed.”

“So when the opportunity arose to meet with the Philippine Football Federation myself and the Sports Commission highly recommended Loughborough to them.”

The players are among the top players in the Philippines, and were scouted from the nationwide Kasibulan Grassroots Development Programme that was launched last year.

During their visit the squad played matches against local teams from Quorn JFC, Loughborough Dynamo Juniors, First Football Academy, Burton Albion Academy and Leicester City Academy.

The players also enjoyed excursions to see West Bromwich Albion v Swansea City in the Premier League, visited Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, and watched England’s victory over Moldova in the World Cup qualifier played at Wembley.

Robert Orr, one of the players in Philippine Under 11’s squad, said:

“It has been a fantastic experience and we have learnt so much in training, the games against the local teams, and of course visiting Wembley. The facilities here are amazing, everything has been nicely prepared for us and we really appreciate it.”

Robert’s team mate Jacob Pedernal added:

“After the camp I am expecting to be a much better player when I go back to the Philippines. I also believe that our team will be much stronger and that we will make it to the World Cup.”

Not only was the camp a great experience for the visiting players, but it also provided an opportunity for University staff members and students to play a key supporting role.

Stuart McLaren, Head Coach of Loughborough Students Football, explains:

“It was great fun to be involved in the coaching set-up for the camp. The players were all enthusiastic, technically very good, and had a disciplined approach to the game.

“It was a great experience to work with a group of players from another country, and to give our younger coaches within the club the opportunity to work with an international squad.

“We wish the Philippine team well in their long term ambition to qualify for the Under 17 World Cup.”