Philippine football grassroots begin with YFL

MANILA, Philippines – While the elite teams of United Football League (UFL) clubs move on to bring their act to the soon-to-be-launched Philippines Football League (PFL), their respective youth arms are also laying the groundwork for a new league for youngsters.

According to Mike Atayde of Ceres-Negros Youth FC, the grassroots academies of members of the UFL and its mother organization Football Alliance have formed the Youth Football League Association, Inc. (YFL) to make way for the “transition from the UFL youth summer league to an annual dual league concern.”

“The Football Alliance through its popular league, United Football League (UFL), has transcended for the good of Philippine football,” said Atayde.

Ceres, Green Archers United FC, MSA-Aguila FC, Loyola Meralco FC, Forza FC, JP-Voltes FC, Global FC, Kaya FC, and Stallion Laguna FC made up the initial members of the YFL, an entity “purely dedicated to youth club-based football.”

“The association will be open to legitimate youth football clubs that wish to join. There are prerequisites to being a member as the YFL would need to make sure youth football clubs applying are here for the long term and have foreseeable growth in multiple age groups in the future,” said Atayde.

The YFL, he explained, seeks to “promote grassroots football development through leagues, tournaments and festivals for kids and young adults involved in club-based teams in Luzon with the support of the Philippine Football Federation its auxiliaries and international counterparts.”

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At the same time, it is aimed at “promoting and providing training assistance in communities and rural areas with the support of local and national government.”

The YFL will offer high-level competition for U-7s to U-19s. For 2017, the league plans to hold at least 20 weekends of competitive matches with Season 1 set April 23 through June 25 and Season 2 slated Sept. 2-Nov. 5 – all in one location.

“Club-based football is clearly showing a promising future. The UFL will be with us forever in the history of Philippine football as the driving force that brought us today the PFL and the back bone of any football country its youth through the YFL,” he said.