Last September 2 and 3 at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill, 144 kids were given a shot to become the next Lionel Messi. Milo Philippines, in partnership with the prestigious FC Barcelona, recently launched their Road to Barcelona selection camp as a part of their four year partnership.
“This is a training camp where we are giving free, world class training with world class coaches in a world class venue for very deserving kids,” says Milo Sports Executive Robbie De Vera. Kids from different parts of the nation brought their A-game to be one of the chosen 10 to train at Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona (FCB). But a lucky pair will be getting their trip with no centavos spent.
“Some of these children’s stories just proves how far they had come to go to be part of the top ten,” De Vera adds. Citing that they came from less privileged backgrounds, he said that “some of the kids lost their dad at a young age, so they used football to channel their own energy and passions.” In fact, one is the son of a janitor, while another is the son of a prison guard in Bilibid.”
The chances of being picked to train with the center of your fanboy/girl fantasies is the dream. But training with two of the members of FC Barcelona during the selection camp is already an achievement unlocked. Club members Arnau Blanco Moreno and Martí Vila Llobera served as coaches for these young players during the camp’s weekend.
“We are coaches for soccer but we also think that you can educate the players through this sport,” shares Barça’s Arnau Moreno. “We want to educate them to become good people. We say that one person has to have a lot of values and that’s what we work in during the sessions. It’s part of our goal to share our methodology,” he continues, stressing the importance of their club’s values and how they impart this to the children during their stay.
Milo PH’s Road to Barcelona proved to these children there’s no harm in dreaming big while they’re young. The goal might be to let these kids see the world, but the future of this partnership hopes to inspire children with sports as well. “We wanted to encourage these kids to go into sports by giving them access to these kinds of programs, De Vera adds. “So we look forward to inspiring these kids to get into sports and hopefully getting them into a more healthy and active lifestyle so that they can become champions, not just in sports but also in life.”
But whether they’ve become the future of Barça or they make a name in their hometown, they become their own hero by just taking the chance in this camp.