by Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan
Last year, the UP Men’s Football Team once again reclaimed the championship in the 73rd UAAP season, finishing their campaign with an unbeaten record. With the new season tipping off on Saturday, the Maroon booters, alongside defending their title, will have to endure yet another battle: that is, financial difficulties.
For the past four years, the team’s supplies have been late for the UAAP tournament. Soccer balls supposedly for their championship season only arrived months after the competition, which they now use in training for the new season.
The team receives two sets of uniforms, one pair of soccer shoes and socks for the UAAP. But aside from that, they get no supply of any equipment for the rest of the year. Soccer shoes last around five to six months, so the players should have at least two pairs a year, UP Men’s Football Team Coach Andres Crisanto Gonzales said.
According to Varsity Sports Office Head Ariel Juliano, the budget for the equipment and supplies of the varsity teams comes from the athletic fees paid by UP students.
The supplies are delayed because the reporting of the athletic fee was given to the Varsity Office on a later date, Juliano said. They get the first semester report around September, while the second semester report around January. By that time, the tournaments have already started.
The purchasing of supplies is further delayed by the existing rules followed by the university as a government institution, like bidding, he said.
Being a state university, UP’s athletic fees could not support all the needs of the university’s 28 teams competing in the UAAP, Juliano said. The fee is originally allotted for the PE program only, but the varsity office was forced to get funds from it because they have no allocation in the UP budget.
“The only way is that we should not rely only on what UP gives; we have to get supplies outside,” he said, adding that the varsity office will solicit funds for all the teams for the first time this season.
Aside from the late supplies, the team does not receive equipment such as markers and cones for training as stated in their solicitation letter posted in the social networking site Facebook.
Since Gonzales started coaching the team in 2008, the team has been soliciting funds annually. Each member of the team is given copies of the solicitation letter to help in generating funds.
This is their solicitation letter that circulated on Facebook on May last year:
With fifteen (15) championship titles, several Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and other honors under its belt, the University of the Philippines Men’s Football Varsity Team (UP Men’s Football Team) is one of the most successful football teams in the history of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).
During the past decade, the team garnered four (4) championship titles and two (2) 2nd place finishes, including the 2010-2011 UAAP Championship. The team produced many past and present members of the Philippine National Team
Despite these achievements, the team does not have major sponsors. Oftentimes, team members are forced to fend for themselves due to lack of funds. The University of the Philippines, through UP Diliman’s College of Human Kinetics (CHK), does not receive adequate support from the national government to finance the operations of its varsity teams. Despite a general lack of basic training equipment and facilities (e.g., balls, vests, goal nets, markers, water to drink, etc.), it is amazing how the UP Men’s Football Team managed to stay on top.
As we continue to strive to bring honor and pride to our country’s national university, while promoting the values we learned from our sport, we would like to ask for your generous support during the 2011-2012 UAAP football season. Your donations will not only help us monetarily. It will also boost team morale as well.
Should you wish to give a monetary donation of any amount, you can arrange for the pickup of your pledges. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Rafael T. Luna III at (63) 917-8635711 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
We thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity.
Very truly yours,
NATHAN S. OCTAVIO
Mobile: (+63) 915 – 7420617
ANDRES CRISANTO GONZALES
Mobile: (+63) 915 – 9140740
The team also ventures in other income-generating projects such as selling shirts and organizing events. In fact, proceeds from a party they in 2010 were used for the treatment of Jay Eusebio, a winger who suffered a broken collarbone during an important game against UST in the elimination round.
Jaemark Tordecilla, a UP alumnus and sports blogger, said in his award-winning sports blog Firequinito.com that the university should focus more on football because the team has been a perennial contender in the UAAP just like the UP Pep Squad.
“Our football team’s already plenty good – so why don’t we just devote more resources into that? Why can’t we make it so the football team becomes a true juggernaut in the UAAP, the type of program that would rattle off five, six straight championships?” Tordecilla wrote in his blog.
“It will also help the sport of football because if UP decides to own it, then it’ll be a bigger deal; it’s already happened before, with the UP Pep Squad in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition.”
Tordecilla said that the UP Administration could help the football team by encouraging alumni to support the team.
A committee tasked to create marketing programs, clinch sponsorships, and improve the profile of the team could be established to organize the support coming from the football fans and the alumni, he said.
Despite these distractions, plus the loss of some players from the championship team, Gonzales remains optimistic with Up’s chances of defending the crown this season.
“Some of our best players are gone but the backline is intact for the new season,” Gonzales said.
Boasting 15 titles under its belt, the Fighting Maroons will be led by last season’s Rookie of the Year striker Jinggoy Valmayor, who played for the Philippine team in the 26th Southeast Asian Games last year, alongside Deo Segunial and Ayi Ni Aryeenesia.
The UP Booters will be facing Ateneo football team on Saturday at the Ateneo football field to open its campaign.
Photos by Joshua Dalupang