The Youth Football League (YFL) closed its inaugural season on Sunday after successful competitions in seven age groups.
YFL Association, Inc. president Mike Atayde credited the milestone to the active involvement of its 10 member clubs in managing the Under-7, Under-9, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 age divisions.
“This sense of ownership has made easier for us to realize our hopes and dreams for club-based football growth in the Philippines,” Atayde told The Manila Times through an online interview.
Atayde also said that their previous experiences in handling the now-defunct United Football League (UFL) summer youth tournaments made it easy for them to transition to the YFL.
Drawing inspiration from the American Youth Soccer Organization, the grassroots academies of the former UFL clubs formed the annual dual-season youth league, which made its debut on April 22 with fixtures set on weekends.
The club-based league was able to hold a total 396 games in a single round-robin elimination round at the Alabang Country Club Multipurpose Field in Muntinlupa City, aside from the playoff stage matches leading to the Cup and Plate championships.
Atayde was elated of the vast potential he had seen in the players in YFL, claiming that a number of them are either suiting up for their school or the national youth team.
“The YFL has been a great venue to find talent,” he said.
Coming into the next season slated on September 3, Atayde bared that there were already several clubs, which expressed interest in joining the league.
“We have five clubs who have sent their official intentions to join and are now being reviewed by the membership committee.”
Should the applicants fail to comply with the requirements, YFL would be willing to extend its hands in order for them to be legal entities.
Atayde also revealed that they would be having a Ladies Under-18 category with at least six teams in the shorter second season, which will last for five to seven weekends.