Cebu FC academy officially opens

CEBU’s premier pro club Cebu FC officially unveiled its football academy last Saturday, July 23, 2022, that focuses on developing the youth and possibly turning them into future football stars.“The main objective is not competing but introducing football to the younger kids, make them see that the sport can be fun. We actually opened three weeks ago and we now have more than 100 kids registered,” said Cebu FC owner Ugur Tasci.The Cebu FC Academy is open to kids and teens from ages five to 18 years old. The training will be every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Cebu FC’s home stadium, the Dynamic Herb-Borromeo Sports Complex in Talisay City.The academy’s introductory rates are P2,000 for four sessions, P3,000 for eight sessions, P4,000 for 12 sessions and P5,000 for 16 sessions. The Cebu FC Academy’s registration fee is P1,900, which is inclusive of two sets of jerseys, an ID and a bag.The academy is being run by Cebu FC assistant coach Levent Ozturk, who played for Turkish Superlig club Hatayspor in his heyday. He’ll be assisted by Cebu FC goalkeeping coach Ref Cuaresma as the overall coordinator and some Cebu FC players like Daniel Gadia and Marius Kore.Aside from teaching the kids football in a fun way, the goal of the academy is also to build elite youth teams that can compete in youth tournaments in the country.“We are trying to see who can progress to the elite teams. Coach Levent is trying to come up with an elite team to compete in tournaments around here in Cebu,” said Gadia. “Hope we can have an (elite) team in each group. We pick around 10 to 12 players for the elite teams. I believe we can form a team by the end of the year.”Cebu FC is quickly becoming one of the elite pro clubs in the country despite being established as a pro club only last year.Cebu FC made its debut in the pro ranks as one of just five clubs in the 2021 Copa Paulino Alcantara. Cebu FC, who fielded mostly homegrown talent, finished fourth place after losing to Stallion FC Laguna in a penalty shootout.Cebu FC tied up with Hatayspor and brought in Turkish coaches Mehmet Kakil and Ozturk to lead the squad in 2022.Hatayspor also sent out youth players Arda Cinkir, Mert Altinoz and Nazim Ozcan to beef up the squad.Cebu FC had a better performance in the 2022 Copa Paulino Alcantara, finishing second in the elimination round and even getting a 1-1 draw with eventual champion United City FC. Cebu FC, however, lost to Stallion FC again in the third place match.Cebu FC will be competing in its first-ever Philippines Football League (PFL) later this year.