MANILA, Philippines - There are lots of things we do as parents to encourage our children to grow up healthy and make wise decisions. These don't just include eating right or studying hard to get good grades — they also include exercising and practicing teamwork when our children are amongst friends.
I have always encouraged my kids to get involved in team sports. In fact, my daughter Gia remains a proud member of her high school volleyball team that boasts of back-to-back championships when they all played together in grade school.
To this day, however, I have yet to see one of my kids enjoy my chosen team sport of soccer, er, I mean football. I thought I might get to enjoy the sport again through my son when he opted to join the grassroots program through his school.
But after only one season, he shared with me that he "just didn't think it was the sport for him." I still have hope, though. I put a football in front of my littlest the other day, and just like that, she naturally took to kicking the ball ahead, with a smile on her face that was accompanied by an excited giggle.
This is one of the reasons why I was intrigued to hear of a new place that just popped up in the south. Jojo and Ruby de Luzuriaga recently opened Kick Off, an indoor football facility that can easily become your "one stop shop" for all your football needs, regardless of what the weather is like outside.
Photo by Mish Ressa-Aventajado
With ample parking and a facility that sits on a one-hectare land in Las Pinas, Kick Off houses a 36' by 18' indoor Limonta Infinity Turf covered field, dubbed "Ferrari of all turfs." It is FIFA-certified and will be home for many a football club here in the south.
Kick Off is family owned and operated. Jojo and his wife Ruby have thought of everything to encourage other families to enjoy the sport by facilitating a country club feel. Kick Off's Half Time Lounge offers salon services; Kick Off Cafe offers meals and snacks; Kick Off Carwash takes care of your vehicle once you arrive.
There are also study rooms for scholar athletes, the country's only Football Museum and gear store Futbol Atbp — the facilities provide a place where athletes and their families would want to spend their time.
Jojo envisions that Kick Off will bring the different football clubs in the area together and create a sense of community that will have a ripple effect on all aspects of the sport as an industry. At a time when football receives little assistance from the Philippine Olympic Committee [POC], Jojo hopes that — with the help of other sports enthusiasts — they will be able to nurture athletes, coaches, clubs and even sports commentators; to grow a community where football is for everyone.
Photo by Mish Ressa-Aventajado
Coaches and players will see the thought and commitment that went into putting up this facility that is the first of its kind in the country. Jojo left a successful career in the BPO industry to open up this dream business, citing that the family time and bonding he has shared with his wife and kids through the sport is priceless.
He envisions so much more for the youth involved in football here in the Philippines. Together with prominent sports broadcasters, internationally-trained coaches and even sports photographers, he aims to uplift all of those involved in the sport.
Jojo sees his passion for football becoming a gift he hopes to share with everyone. One of his dream events is to share the gift of football with special children from the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines. - Rappler.com
Michelle Ressa-Aventajado is a Filipina American who grew up in NY and now makes Manila her home. When she's not busy raising her four children, she enjoys teaching, reading and writing about her passions. Follow her blog Momma 'N Manila as she documents her adventures and growth in parenting.