Wearing the purpose
For the coaches of Football for Life Academy (FFLA), their jacket is a source of inspiration, pride, and purpose. Being a FFLA coach comes with an additional sense of responsibility to the communities they serve, more so, to the underserved children they teach and train, who look up to them for guidance, encouragement, and support.
With that begs more questions – why do they do it then?
FundLife International sat down with three FFLA head coaches to sate the curiosity, and too, learn what drives our very own champions to such strong commitment and dedication to the programme and to the FFLA players.
The coaches, in their own ways, embody the FFLA mentors’ guiding principles: Educate. Inspire. Empower.
Different inspirations, same goal
Coaches Reuben, Rhobs, and JP joined the FFLA for different reasons, but they are united in their goal to help children and young people find hope again and build the confidence to achieve their dreams.
For Coach Rhobs, it was her football trainer who got her into coaching. Being on the receiving end of support and motivation left her with a great sense of appreciation for people who put in the time and effort to uplift and inspire others. And she just knew that she wants to be someone who empowers young hopefuls as well.
A passion for football and determination to share what he knows about the sports led Coach JP into the coaching path. Starting out as a FFLA player himself, he recognized the power of football in the development, well-being, and education of children. He sees coaching as an opportunity to teach and inspire young people to work hard towards a better future.
Coach JP is a FFLA head coach who has been with the programme for 2 years. With help from Arsenal in the Community coaches, he is instrumental in the design, content, and delivery of the Champions Classroom Sessions in FFLA-supported schools in and around Tacloban City. Created to reinforce the FFLA programme, the classroom sessions follows a “from field to classroom” approach that supports the values and lessons learned on the field with a structured curriculum taught in a traditional yet interactive classroom setting.
A worthy experience
Reflecting on their coaching experience brought back a lot of memories for the coaches, and, too, a sense of accomplishment on how far they have come along. Aware of the many challenges they are yet to face, the coaches shared how they are ready to overcome the difficulties and continue on doing what they love – for the programme, and especially, for the children.
Despite of being with the FFLA programme for only a little over a year, Coach Rhobs already, proudly embodies empowerment. She is a source of inspiration and encouragement to young players, enabling them to find and pursue their passion, learn from failures, and achieve their life goals.
Challenging but rewarding roles
The coaches dream of a better future for the children that they teach and train. When they put on the jacket, they take on challenging roles that seek to leave a lasting, positive impact in the lives of the young people they nurture.
Coaches JP and Rhobs share how wearing the FFLA jacket makes them feel like professional coaches, at the same time, compels them to fulfill their responsibilities with utmost determination.
To Coach Reuben, the jacket does not limit his role to being a coach or a mentor, but extends to a multitude of functions that allow his story and experiences to inspire the youth to be bold and ambitious in their vision for the future.
Reuben is a coach and youth leader of the FFLA programme. He is the head coach of Anibong Football Club, a FFLA-supported community which is also one of the most adversely affected areas during Typhoon Haiyan. In 2017, Coach Rueben attended the Michael Johnson Young Leaders Programme – Class of 2017 to represent the Philippines and FFLA, and joined other inspiring young role models from all over the world.
There is more than meets the eye after all, and we look at the humble FFLA jacket with fresh perspectives. Then again, it’s not about the jacket at all, but the people who wear it and carry with it, the responsibilities that play important roles in the development of young hopefuls, young champions, and future coaches who will continue on the role of change makers and enablers of positive impact and change in society.