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Inspire-Raya: A world-class futsal program
The Inspire Raya High School for sports campus in Laguna will soon house the Inspire-Raya girls futsal scholars and train them to become world class athletes.

Inspire-Raya: A world-class futsal program

Andres Fargas (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2021 - 12:00am

What does it take to make a futsal program succeed?

“It takes a village to raise a child,” the saying goes.  Yet, there really is no better way to help develop young kids with talent, dedication, and passion than through a Futsal Scholarship Program like the Inspire-Raya High School for Sports.

The program is collaboration between the Henry V. Moran Foundation, the Inspire Sports Academy, the Raya School, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) and the MVP Sports Foundation.

Raya School is a progressive learning institution, while the Inspire Sports Academy is a world-class sports institution that features and employs 360-degree sports science and educational support for athletes.

Housed in a world-class facility in Laguna, it has two indoor futsal courts, three outdoor futsal pitches, medical facilities, and dormitories.

CP David, who put up the Raya School, together with his wife, Ani Almario, had a vision for bringing the quality progressive education Raya School is known for to Filipino student-athletes.

“Three years ago, we had an idea of putting up our fifth campus and this time we wanted to cater to a special group of students,” David said. “The idea was to have the country’s very first sports school geared towards training and educating the country’s next-generation athletes.”

The futsal scholarship program is one of the first pilot programs at the school (they also have a basketball program for boys), that grants senior high school futsal scholarships to girls between the ages of 16 and 18.  The target is to train these girls to become future national team futsal players.

Vince Santos, program director of the MVP Sports Foundation, saw value in the program as a means to not only develop a solid national futsal team, but also more technically sound women’s football players.

“Originally the MVP Sports Foundation only supported football, but we eventually saw tremendous value in futsal,” share Vince Santos. “Futsal has a lot of value for us because around the world, the sport develops technically better football players and any local community can play the game on a basketball court.  That is why for the MVP Sports Foundation, it makes sense to support futsal because it is an exciting sport, but it can also help develop football.”

The Moran Foundation and the PFF, with the support of the MVP Sports Foundation, provide the technical guidance for the program.  In fact, through the Moran Foundation and the PFF, Dutch futsal expert and coach Vic Hermans supervises the girl’s development in the hope that he can transform them into potential national team players for futsal.

Santos added, “We are super excited with the developments.  It took three years to develop the program and we are glad to have Vic Hermans to develop girls who are not only outstanding national team athletes, but also well-rounded individuals.”

Given the situation with COVID-19, nine initial scholars were scouted from previous futsal tournaments conducted in 2018-2019 and were invited to join the pioneering batch of the program.  They are currently taking online classes at Raya and being mentored online by Hermans. Once the program gets the go signal to train, the girls will live and train at the Inspire Sports Academy.

Eventually this pilot program will further grow to include 15 scholars with support from private organizations and sponsors.

“Every time that our athletes perform at an international stage and make the country proud, that is one form of nation-building,” David said.  “But my dream is actually that in a few years’ time, the country will see various athletes who are professionals: an international tennis player studying law or a national team futsal player who is also a medical doctor. Our dream is that when we work with student-athletes, their goals in life beyond sports are also met through good-quality education.”

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