By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

CROSS-SECTOR efforts to develop the sport of football from the grassroots bore further fruit with the staging of the Luzon Cup next week.

A football tournament for boys Under-12 happening at the Jose V. Yap Sports and Recreational Park in San Jose, Tarlac, from Nov. 21 to 24, the Luzon Cup is organized by the Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) and the Central Luzon Football Association (CLFA) with firm backing from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Also throwing their support to the event are the Tarlac provincial and city governments and the office of the Department of Education in the province.

Organizers hail the upcoming event as a significant development in relation to their thrust of making football available to more people, especially the younger ones, in the country by way of different tournaments.

The Luzon Cup completes NOFA’s nationwide “triangle” of U13/U12 tournaments, joining the Bacolod-based NOFA Cup for the Visayas and the recently concluded Mindanao Cup.

The tournaments are part of NOFA’s vision of “Football Para sa Lahat” (Football for All), where it moves to partner with fellow football associations in the country and organize tournaments for young footballers.

“Our dream, through ‘Football Para sa Lahat’ is to support more tournaments and activities for all groups. We want more Filipinos to enjoy football. And we believe more football development programs will eventually mean more lasting success in the international arena,” said NOFA President Ricardo Yanson, Jr., at the press conference for the Luzon Cup on Monday at the Century Park Hotel in Manila, as he talked about the motor that is propelling them with their vision and mission.

In the Luzon Cup, 15 teams from different football associations and football clubs in Luzon are set to participate. A 16th team will be the Mindanao Cup champion Bukidnon Football Association.

Seeing the clear vision of NOFA and its partner associations, PSC Chairman William Ramirez expressed his and the PSC’s full support to the Football Para sa Lahat program and the Luzon Cup.

“I see the passion of Mr. Yanson and his group to really develop football in the country and I’m supporting him morally and as the presiding chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission. I will support him and his programs wherever these take him,” said Mr. Ramirez, also at the press conference, even going as far as offering the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium to host the national finals of the tournament.