PFF Technical Director Josep Ferré Talks Developing Young Filipino Footballers

New PFF Technical Director Josep Ferré is Ready to Develop the Filipino Way of Football

The PFF’s newly announced Technical Director Josep Ferré shares his long-term plans for Philippine football.

If the Philippine Football Federation’s (PFF) new Technical Director, Josep “Pep” Ferré seems familiar to you, that’s because he is not exactly a new face to Philippine football. The UEFA Coach, who earned his PRO license through the Royal Spanish Federation, was the head coach of the Philippine Men’s National Football Team in 2022 during the squad’s 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup campaign.

“I think he found this opportunity very interesting as well because we’re starting from pretty much scratch, we’re trying to put together what we believe will be the right way for Philippine football — the Filipino way to play,” said PFF Director of Football Vincent Santos.

Though Ferré’s stint as the Men’s National Team head coach was short-lived, he takes on his new role as PFF Technical Director with the opposite outlook — he is looking ahead to the federation’s long-term plans for developing football in the Philippines.

“As a Technical Director, I am focused in developing football in the country and being absolutely determined to grow the number of young footballers around the country that play football today. It’s a need,” Ferré shared.

With this vision in mind, the former Men’s National Team head coach shared three pillars that he will be focusing on with his new role.

Developing the grassroots level

As someone who has worked at almost every level, from the youth level to professional clubs all over the world, Ferré views football as “a pyramid” where the base represents a country’s young players, and the top represents the national team.

Given this, his plan, along with the entire federation, is to create more opportunities for young players to develop through competitions and other programs.

“If you count the number of competitive matches that our youth currently plays, it’s sorely lacking. We want them playing maybe 40 to 50 competitive matches in a year, which at the moment, we don’t see at all,” Santos shared with the press.

In response, Ferré expounded on his plans to aid this, saying, “We will do it through a system of competition that will progressively expand around the country organized by PFF, and supported by the regional federations…[The PFF aims to] give to the kids of the country a competition system that will help them play football, have fun, enjoy, learn, and become better footballers with these conditions of training. This is one of the projects we have.”

Updated talent identification system

Apart from creating more programs for young football players in the Philippines, another integral facet in the PFF’s new direction is improving the talent identification system.

Since Ferré’s arrival in the Philippines, he, along with other key members of the federation, has been going around the country to observe matches and assess players as part of this goal. But, their team emphasizes that they are looking for more than just technical skills from their players.

“We have to identify the talents who will be able to perform in the future, and that’s not that easy…There are players who have a higher margin for development than others, and we have to identify those players who will be able to become better in the future. The other facet is the profile of the players we need for every position in the game.

“And the other side is game understanding, the reading of the game, and the decision-making process. It is not only about the quality of the players’ passing…It’s about how they understand the game situations and how are they able to solve the game situations in the best way,” he explained.

Developing coaches

While developing young players is Ferré’s main focus, another pillar in their long-term goals is to also develop the quality of the Philippines’ coaches.

“We need to help our coaches,” the Technical Director emphasized. “The Filipino coaches who are working today with our young kids, we have to give them more tools to be more prepared and to serve the young kids and the needs they have. If we want to help our kids, we need to put the people who are teaching them in the best conditions and the best formation to be useful for them and for their careers.”

With these three major focuses, it’s evident that the Technical Director is working toward the federation’s long-term goals, and given his expertise from coaching in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Puerto Rico, and Spain, the PFF is entrusting him with this hefty task.

“It’s a very exciting time for Philippine Football,” PFF Deputy General Secretary Kevin Gogo expressed. “We have someone who is very young, 40 years old, and he has a lot of fresh ideas, he has the right values and he’s here to explore what the Filipino way of playing is. It’s not cut-and-paste tiki-taka football, it’s not cut-and-paste what was done in Barcelona…We’re gonna discover what is right for the Filipino players and right now the focus is building that pathway from the grassroots all the way to the national teams.”

Banner image from PFF.

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