SOME of the country’s promising youth booters took the spotlight in the 2014 Coca-Cola Football Festival, which kicked off on Saturday at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa.
Nearly 3,500 kids from 230 school-based and amateur teams nationwide converged under the summer sun and contended for top honors in 11 different age categories, from as young as 3 to as old as 16, aside from an open division for boys and girls.
Roughly 800 more players joined this season, making it the biggest edition yet of the two-day knockout tournament now on its fourth year.
“This proves the growing interest of Filipinos in football and it is something Coca-Cola Philippines would like to invest on so that in the long run, we could enjoin more people to take on more active, healthy lifestyles through sports,” Coke president and general manager Guillermo Aponte said.
Sanctioned by the National Capital Region Football Association and supported by Powerade, Makati Football Club, and Alabang Football School, among others, the competition was played on 22 fields simultaneously and followed a 7-a-side format.
Some defending champions in De la Salle (men’s open), FC Sikat (ladies’ open), Green Barons (boys 16-under), Miriam College (girls 16-under), Xavier Football Club (boys 14-under), De la Salle Zobel (girls 14-under), Makati FC Elite (boys 12-under), Makati Football Club (mixed 6-under), and Makati Football School (special – 5-under) returned for their respective title-retention bids.
Clubs battled each other in single-round elimination, with the top two from each group advancing to the quarterfinals, before the semifinals and the finals ensued.
The football fest is just one of Coke’s numerous local programs promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyle, including the Coca-Cola PBA Youngstars and the Red Cross Million Volunteer Run.