Eleven young men from all over the Phlippines showed their wares in a converted street football court in the JCCV (Jesus Christ Church in the Valley) in Cainta, Rizal on April 30, 2011. In front of a sparse but passionate crowd, they went through drill after drill, scrimmage under scrimmage, trying to prove their worth in front of the panelists who were keenly watching their every move.
Under the supervision of Coach Rudy del Rosario and Assistant Coach Mark Maravilla of the 2010 Team Philippines, eight men were finally chosen to represent the country. This means that there were to be three broken hearts that day. A bit of good news for the three men who failed to make the cut, though : Two members of this year's selection, Bert Sienes and Jeffrey Guelas from Manila, similarly failed to make the cut in last year's try-outs, but were selected to Team 2011.
|HWC Team with FIFA Committee Member Cristy Ramos|
|The eleven finalists with the panelists, coaches and The Jeepney|
Thanks to the renewed football interest in the country, mainstream and social media flocked to cover the event. Mark Zambrano and a crew from Mel and Joey from GMA 7 were present. Spotted amongst the crowd were Soccer Central Phlippines' Icko de Guzman and PinoyFootball.com's Arielle Cruz, Craig Burrows and Roy Moore.
|With some very handsome people from Pinoyfootball.com|
|Bus Driver Mark Zambrano. Specialty : Parking.|
Congratulations to the eight young men who will represent the country this August in Paris, France. 'Life-changing' may not even be enough to describe how this experience will change them. Some of them broke down in tears of joy after the announcement, knowing their lives would never be the same again. Others rubbed their eyes over and over, seemingly unable to fully comprehend that they have been selected to the team, still unable to fully grasp the extent of their achievements.
Such was the pressure and desire in them, that this was the only time I saw most of them smile the whole day. And when the smile came, what a smile that was.
Here is your Homeless World Cup 2011 Team Philippines :
Jeffrey de Castro's name was the last one called by Coach Rudy. After his name was called you could sense a palpable wave of relief in his face.
Bert Sienes impressed in goal, and another goalkeeper Michael Rojo caught the eye by scoring a hat-trick when he was playing outfield during scrimmage. Truly a versatile player who could be very useful up front as well. For sure, we will hear much more from them in the buildup to the World Cup in August.
The team also has an added advantage now of having a dedicated fitness trainer who will help enhance their fitness levels in time for the tournament. Coach Rudy himself admits, "Fitness levels was one of the weaknesses of the 2010 Philippine Team. We hope to address this issue this time around."
For the selection committee, the work has ended. For the team and the coaching staff, the work has just only begun.
For more info on the team, and ways to help them, please visit these sites :
Homeless World Cup Official Site.
The Jeepney Magazine
Homeless World Cup Team Philippines Facebook Page
More Pictures from the Tryouts here.
The team needs all the help they can get. Let's support them all the way!