By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE first year of conduct of the football program by Milo Philippines and FC Barcelona in the country has produced its first batch of trainees who will now be gifted a rare chance of getting added training at the home of the popular Spanish football team.
After two days of thorough training held last month and weeks of selection after, Milo early this week released the names of the members of the first team of their “Road to Barcelona” program, which is in line with the groups’ shared vision of seeing children live better lives through a more healthy and active lifestyle.
Comprising 13 kids out of 150 who participated in the selection camp held on Sept. 2 to 3 at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig City, the team was selected by an expert panel comprised of executives and coaches from Milo Philippines, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), and the FCB Escola Youth Academy.
The team will now be participating in a life-changing football opportunity as it will train, learn, and play the Barça way in the global camp to be held in Camp Nou on Oct. 15 to 23.
The players were chosen based on the right mix of values (60%) and skill (40%).
The criteria were aligned with Milo and FC Barcelona’s thrust of pushing for humility, effort, ambition, respect and teamwork in everything one does.
Named to the team heading to Barcelona are Lien Dale Manuel (Vicente Lim Elementary School), Lara Angela Amante (Isabelo de los Reyes Elementary School), Liam Arc Villaran (Don Bosco College-Canlubang), Kevin H. Hadap (Diosdado P. Macapagal Elementary School), Heaven Andrei Teodosio (Ilaya Barangka Integrated School), Lorenzo Miguel Castillo Plaza (Xavier School), Alexis Caitlin Tan (Keys School Manila), Joseph Kyne Garces (Don Bosco Technical College-Cebu), Marcus Lucas Arias (Don Bosco College-Canlubang), Lorenz Albert Tortona (Xavier School), Enzo Gacutan Courbet (Brent International School), Boris Malcolm Uy (Keys School Manila), and Ethan Jacob Roxas (Paref Springdale-Cebu).
Manuel, Amante, Hadap, and Teodosio were selected as the recipients of the full-sponsorship by Milo Philippines while the rest will shoulder part of their own expenses.
The kids from the Philippines will join other participants coming from other countries like Colombia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Chile and Australia.
“We are very proud and excited to introduce the first batch of athletes who will get to go on this incredible journey in Barcelona. We believe that we have a really good team of kids who exemplify the right mix of values and skills that both MILO and FC Barcelona advocate. It is our hope that the journey of these kids inspire more and more young Filipinos to be their best, and reach for their dreams,” said Robbie De Vera, Sports Marketing Executive of MILO Philippines, during the official unveiling of the names on Tuesday which also doubled as a sendoff.
Mr. De Vera admitted though that they encountered difficulty in processing pertinent travel papers of some of the participants but they vowed to send everybody to Barcelona, coordinating with different agencies that could help facilitate the processing.
Those whose papers are all set will leave on Saturday while a second batch is set to go on Thursday.
Despite the problems they encountered in the first year of Road to Barcelona, Milo officials said they remained committed to the vision and mission of the program, which runs for four years.