How Camryn Bynum is Uplifting Flag Football in the Philippines

NFL Player Camryn Bynum is Uplifting Flag Football in the Philippines

Minnesota Viking Camryn Bynum spends his offseason in the Philippines not just in vacation mode. He’s here with a goal to help push his sport forward.

Camryn Bynum, a Filipino-American NFL player who is a budding star for the Minnesota Vikings, discovered the flag football scene in the Philippines in the most serendipitous way.

As a professional football player who takes pride in his Filipino roots, fans of the sport in the Philippines naturally and instantly become Camryn’s fans. One of them was Dags Mambuay, a longtime American football player based in the Philippines.

“It’s a crazy story,” Camryn alludes to The GAME. “Dags, one my friends, he followed me on Instagram during my second year in the NFL and I saw his page and I thought, ‘Oh, someone’s training for American football in the Philippines.’ So I got excited seeing someone from the Philippines posting videos about football, so I followed him back.”

Dags is arguably one of the most experienced athletes in the country as far as American football goes, as he’s been a part of all the ups and downs of the sport on a local level. In the last decade alone, he’s played the Philippine Tackle Football League, as well as the Philippine American Football League, and now, he is a part of the National Team for flag football, Agila Pilipinas, and is a recognized flag football coach.

He is just one of the many American football players here in the country.

“I was just looking at his stuff over time, and he [sent me a message] when I came to the Philippines. He was like, ‘Hey, if you’re free come to our practice.’ And I said ‘Okay, I’ll show up.’

“They were all surprised. They didn’t think I’d actually go, and that day, I saw that these people really love football and so I wanted to do something because I love football.”

When Camryn attended that training session, he saw what most people instantly see when they spend any time with the flag football community in the Philippines: their sheer passion for playing the sport.

“They’re doing everything on their own,” Camryn attests. “These people are using their own money, aside from their day jobs, to come play football. They’re using their own power to build up their community, with no budget.”

This alone was enough to inspire him to help uplift their community using his own resources.

Creating a platform to learn

Upon discovering a real passion for American football here in the Philippines, Camryn Bynum shares, “So I thought, I can help do something.”

With this in mind, he collaborated with local flag football players, including Dags, to come up with an event that would help boost the sport on a local level. This idea is now what he calls “Camp Beezy” which is a series of flag football camps in the Philippines that started in 2023, where players of all experience levels can learn how to play the sport and excel.

“The first one was in Manila and that was really the start of it,” he recalls. “I wanted to do a camp where there was a lot of teaching and not just a tournament… So my heart behind it was actually to teach the game, to leave people doing better, and not just going out there competing — I wanna give them the knowledge of how to play the game the right way, then they can apply it. So we give a day of teaching, and a day of competing and using the teaching and actually applying it.”

Camryn Bynum in his Philippine football camp, Camp Beezy
(Photo credit: Camp Beezy on Instagram)

The first edition of Camp Beezy was held in the iconic Rizal Memorial Stadium in July 2023, where players from around the Philippines spent two days learning all kinds of tips, tricks, and skills from the NFL players, as well as other experienced coaches.

As Camryn recalls, the turnout was incredible. Many players signed up and were eager not only to learn from professionals but also to improve as players. And with the success they saw in their first camp, a year later, they were on to their second edition.

“We did the second one in Cebu and the football community in Cebu is really strong. It’s even bigger than it is in Manila,” Camryn reveals.

Camp Beezy: Volume 2 reached its maximum number of sign-ups within the first two days of its announcement, with 250 players set to join the event. “It was sad having to turn people away,” Camryn shares. But, this was a problem that he, along with the entire team behind Camp Beezy, was happy to have. After all, this was just another sign of the growth of this sport locally.

Thanks to these camps, Camryn was able to get an up-close look into the flag football community here in the Philippines. And if he was impressed the first time he met some of the players, now that he and his team have just hosted the third volume of Camp Beezy, he has become all the more inspired.

Part of the community

When we got to visit Camp Beezy Volume 3: Manila Madness, held in the Vermosa Sports Hub from June 21 to 23, we got to witness first-hand just how quickly this community, as well as this entire series, has grown, as this third edition was the biggest one yet.

“Now, we’ve branched it out to all of Asia and invited other countries to come and compete so we can see what the talent and competition is like in all of Asia,” he shares. “So this weekend is more of a tournament, because we have everyone flying in, but we made sure we set four hours aside in the morning to teach the game.”

For Camp Beezy’s third volume, Camryn and his team invited flag football teams from all over Asia to compete in a friendly tournament here in the Philippines. With this, teams from Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and South Korea, among other Asian countries, traveled to Manila just to participate.

On top of this, he also invited co-NFL player Nikko Remigio, another Filipino-American who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. The two professionals have known each other since their university days and have always had conversations about doing something together for the Philippine community — and this was it finally coming to fruition.

The energy this kind of gathering created was truly inspiring.

While teams were playing against one another, the other players sitting on the bleachers eagerly awaiting their turn to take the pitch were cheering for their teammates, warming up, and planning their games all at the same time. And in the middle of all the action was Camryn.

Camryn Bynum in his Philippine football camp, Camp Beezy
(Photo credit: Camp Beezy on Instagram)

It was hard to pin down where the Minnesota Vikings player was at any given point of the camp. This is because he was shuffling between watching the matches closely from the sidelines and engaging with the other athletes waiting to play, throwing a football around with them, answering their questions, or just simply enjoying the competitions with them. (Not to mention the number of times he is approached for photos.)

With this, it was easy to see that Camryn is not just attending these events as the host or as the “main attraction.” Quite the opposite — he sees this community as a family that he is a part of.

“I’m starting to see the same faces over and over, I’m learning people’s names, people are becoming friends, so really the community is becoming a family…At the end of the day, they’re my friends also, so just being able to play football with friends is always fun.”

Even when big droplets of rain started falling from the sky, Camryn was running onto the field, ready to jump and cheer for all the impressive plays he’d see from the players he calls his friends.

It’s hard to believe that all this began with just a simple exchange on Instagram, as now, this community is not just growing in size and closeness. Along with all of this, their goals are growing just the same.

A goal in mind

As Camryn Bynum himself noted, he knows that a lot of the players in the Philippine flag football community play this sport on the side of their day jobs. But make no mistake — for many of them, this is more than just a hobby. In fact, this is why Camryn and his team decided to invite teams from all over Asia to the third volume of Camp Beezy.

“With the Olympics coming up in 2028, these are the countries we’re gonna be competing against so I thought, ‘Why not get everybody used to the competition and help people get better by competing against some of the best players in Asia?'” Camryn explains.

“We have a really good level of competition. It’s just a matter of experience for most people. There are a lot of beginners, which is great for the game, but there are also people who have been playing for a long time, so the more we get people playing, we’ll get to bridge the gap with the beginners and see them grow so much faster.”

Camryn Bynum in his Philippine football camp, Camp Beezy
(Photo credit: Camp Beezy on Instagram)

With flag football set to make its Olympic debut in 2028, this is a huge goal that is on the backs of the minds of many of the players in the country. This makes initiatives like Camryn’s all the more important; with more opportunities to play, there are more opportunities to improve.

“I think there’s so much good talent out here, especially among Filipinos. We love basketball, and that’s a really athletic sport, you have to be fast, you have to be quick, so the fact that they’re getting into flag football now, it’s just a matter of experience and people actually playing the game.”

With three editions of Camp Beezy done, Camryn truly believes in the potential he’s seen in the Philippines. There’s a good mix of experienced players and beginners who are encouraged to improve, and on both ends, he can tell, “People grow so quickly and get better so fast. It’s great to see how fast people here absorb the knowledge.”

Now, it’s just a matter of keeping the ball rolling. And undoubtedly, Camryn remains motivated to be there to keep it going.

“Because I’m Filipino, I wanna see my people playing the game that I love; the game that gave me the life that I have. God blessed me with the life I have. Football is the reason I’m able to travel to the Philippines, because it blessed me with a good enough income to travel freely, and it blessed me with downtime to travel for half the year and not have to be in the US.

“I want people to experience that same satisfaction of training at a sport and being good at it when you work hard at it, and I know that Filipinos can really be great at it.”

Banner images from NFL and Camryn Bynum on Instagram.

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