Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Life’s a ball for the Younghusband brothers

Life’s a ball for the Younghusband brothers
by rick olivares with photo by jp manahan

When you look at James and Phil Younghusband in the midst of their activities for The Younghusband Football Academy, they are totally engrossed in what they are doing. No task is small for them. They arrange the football paraphernalia needed in instructing their wards. They meticulously go over their checklists leaving nothing to chance. And they discuss the program with the other instructors making sure that everything runs smoothly.

They are perfectionists or at least they try to be not jusytin everything that they do but also in their pursuit of teaching football to people. They have not only taught kids, but also physical education instructors, military men, and adults looking to learn the beautiful game.

Once they begin to teach, their game faces give way to broad smiles never mind if they are basking under the hot afternoon sun.

The brothers’ business partner, Cathy Nazareno-Rivilla explains: “In the student training phase, Phil and James make sure that the first part is the fun stage. They have to make it as fun as possible to raise the interest of the students. Once they get into football then the module graduates to the the intermediate and the advanced courses.”

The brothers have come a long way from kicking the ball on the street in front of their home in England or in their backyard. They had a brush with the big, no, premier league when they were signed to the Youth Academy of Chelsea Football Club. And now their journey has brought them to the land of their late mother’s birth. At first, they would come over occasionally for international duty. Today the brothers have made the Philippines their home.

When you ask each brother about how they’ve adjusted to life in the Philippines and without their mother (both parents have passed away), they will tell you that they aside from being best friends have carried each other aside from the help of a few close confidants. They understand the responsibility that has been thrust upon them. And it is something they take very seriously.

Last Thursday, November 10, it was formally announced that the brothers are now being named “Football Ambassadors” for AKTV. “What most people do not realize is how me and James are serious about spreading and teaching the game of football,” passionately said Phil. “Being Football Ambasadors for AKTV will give us an opportunity to reach a wider audience with football as we’re going to be doing a series of segments about learning the game as well as living a healthy lifestyle.”

“I think they are good role models,” said AKTV’s Head of Sports, Vitto Lazatin. “They are stars with the national team, they are leading Loyola in the UFL Cup, and they have their academy. They do good in teaching children and that is what this is about.”

The Younghusband Football Academy has been teaching children the game of football since November 2009. To date, the brothers and their core of coaches and trainers have taught more than 250 teachers all over the country.

“We say that children, the youth, are our future,” enuncited Phil. “That’s true. Not everyone we teach will become a football player. But the values the game teaches will go far in life.”

When the two talk in front of the cameras about their endeavors, they pick up from one another’s sentences just the way they play on the pitch. Seamless and in total understanding.

And they also want people to understand that what they are not telling people they should switch from basketball to football. “Whatever sports people choose is fine,” clarified Phil.

Cut in James, “Phil loves tennis. And he wishes he was Roger Federer. But as long as kids get into something – it can be something creative like drawing or such. They become productive people for the country.”

“Amazing what one can do with a ball, right,” summed James with a wink.

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