Anton del Rosario, a former Azkals standout, wants to improve the image of Philippine football through his AIA Philam 7s Football League.
Del Rosario said, “We are about 250 to 300 teams playing every weekend. So, when you come to our games, we’ll have kids playing throughout the day and then we have the adults take over. While we’re doing it, we have concessions and music,” he added.
Del Rosario formed the 7s Football League in 2018 with six men’s teams playing at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig City. The league gained traction due to its 7-a-side format.
Seeing exponential growth since its foundation, the 7s FL now has a total 82 teams competing across three categories in its fifth season.
Twenty-four teams saw action in two divisions of the men’s group, 10 squads are playing in the women’s side while 48 teams are in the youth category. The league has expanded to Muntinlupa, Clark, Bacolod, Davao and Iloilo.
“The 7s is very different because it is more community-based. When we go to the games, it’s like a reunion,” said Luntian Futsal School’s playing coach and manager Johann Casal.
“We really battle it out on the field but after the game, we all crack open a can of beer and just enjoy each other’s company,” added Casal, whose squad is a member of the Muntinlupa division. “In fact, my players are already asking when are we going to resume?”
The Season 5 7s FL opened February 9 and held five matches in the succeeding weekends until it was stalled by the COVID-19 community quarantine.
With the recent relaxation of restrictions, Del Rosario said players are raring to play and can compete even without audience.
“I’ve spoken to the managers of my teams and according to them, all their players are all ready to get back on the field. Fan-less or with fans, I think the players are still able to bring it and give a very good match,” said the ex-PH XI defender who donned the national tricolors from 2004 to 2014.