Milo-FC Barcelona football initiative set into motion

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THE recently launched football partnership between Milo Philippines and FC Barcelona got rolling with the conduct of the training sessions involving some 140 kids from different parts of the country.

In line with both groups’ shared vision of seeing children live better lives through a more healthy and active lifestyle, the program, dubbed “Road to Barcelona,” was held early this month at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig City.

The program is a four-year values-driven tie-up between Milo Philippines and the globally known football club to develop not only the skills of participating kids but also inculcate in them the values of humility, effort, ambition, respect and teamwork.

During the training camp held from Sept. 2-3, kids from Metro Manila, Cavite, Iloilo and Cebu gathered to train under FC Barcelona (FCB) coaches Arnau Blanco and Marti Vila where they hoped to be among those nominated to the team representing the country in the FCB Escola Camp in Barcelona happening next month.

Milo Philippines will be sending a team of 10 kids to participate in the international training camp at Nou Camp. The players to be selected will be chosen based on the right mix of values (60%) and skill (40%).

From the list, two outstanding team members will be granted an all-expense-paid trip in recognition of their skills and values. The remaining eight slots will be chosen based on the local camp ranking system.

A selection panel led by the MILO FCB Road to Barcelona Team will help identify the players who will be included in the event. Just as important as skill, the principal values that define the spirit of FCB and the essence of MILO, will be included in the criterion for selection of the said players.

Considering the scope of their partnership with FC Barcelona, Milo officials said the program gives added dimension to their local sports development thrust.

“It refreshes the Milo sports program considering that this is the first time that we are deep-diving into football. We’ve always had everything. We have 15 Olympic sports [for various programs]. We have the Milo Marathon for 40 years. Apart from the Philippine Football Federation’s (PFF) Kasibulan program which we have been supporting since the ’90s this is the only time we have invested in a football program with the hopes of seeing our vision through as well as supporting the PFF in its goal of producing more Filipino players,” said Robbie de Vera, Sports Marketing Executive of MILO Philippines, in an interview with BusinessWorld.

“By linking with a big football club like FC Barcelona we believe we can get the word out to more people and inspire them,” he added.

On the part of FC Barcelona, the partnership with Milo Philippines was something it had to do, seeing how noble the cause is and how it is in tune with what the team stands for and the direction it is taking.

“You see the kids smiling, improving, enjoying, trying to understand our philosophy, and it really is fulfilling for us coaches. Having them play together as a team and learn the values and skills in football is amazing to witness. For us, it is important that we help Filipinos experience the Barca way through our program,” said FCB Escola Camp coach Blanco during the training run. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo