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Learning Football From Phil And James YOUNGHUSBAND

Read on to find out how! Plus, learn how they were back in school...and the real score in their current love lives (hint: Phil talks about Angel Locsin!).

If there's anyone who can stand for the two things Cosmo is celebrating this month--sports and education--two hot studs immediately come to mind: Phil and James Younghusband of the Philippine Azkals, the first Philippine team to advance to the second round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Before becoming local football greats, both Phil and James attended the Salesian School in Southwest London.

They're just hot, hot, HOT, and we can't stop talking and knowing more about them. We enjoy reading about their love lives and how we could possibly snag a Younghusband's heart. But, there's more to these boys than their romances (although, yes, we'll give you the REAL score in this interview). They are passionate about things such as staying true to their values, having (and giving) a good education, and enhancing Philippine football through their academy.

The Younghusband Football Academy (TYFA) was put up by Phil and James (chairman and director, respectively) back in January 2010. They've been visiting schools all over the country, making football accessible to anyone and everyone they can. They do weekly training sessions (for kids and PE teachers) in small private schools, mall tours, and speaking engagements. FYI: James and Phil have coaching badges from the Union of European Football Association (UEFA)—meaning they're trained to train.

We recently sat down for lunch with the gorgeous brothers at Century Tsukiji, Century Park Hotel to talk about the things they hold closest to their hearts. Read on for the full interview, and launch the gallery to see photos of the brothers and more quotes!

Let's get this out of the way. Can you tell us about the women in your lives now and what you love most about them?

James: (Ed's note: James has a girlfriend, who's also a Fil-Brit football player. He really wants a woman who's into football.) I love that she's not afraid to be herself around me. She doesn't mind making a fool of herself. And I like that we have so much in common. I like that we like to talk about things, and I'm never uncomfortable with her...

Phil: Well, [Angel Locsin and I] are exclusively dating. I like that she's so human. She likes taking care of people. She's concerned if you haven't eaten, things like that. She's very civil and down-to-earth, considering who she is. She's just very, very human and alive.

Okay, now let's move on to football. What's the story behind The Younghusband Football Academy?

Phil: [Ed's note: Initially it was supposed to be the Phil Younghusband Football Academy] James was in England at the time! I was not trying to be selfish or anything! [But through the months, it was decided that it would be The Younghusband Football Academy.]

James: I was back! As you know, Phil and I had been playing for the National Team... But eventually, politics got in our way, and [we] found that very frustrating. So we tried other things—Phil did Celebrity Duets, I did modeling.

Then, I went back to England because I [still] wanted to be involved in football. I got more experienced in coaching, and it was really rewarding to see kids wanting to learn. I wanted to bring that here. That's when my mom and I decided to follow Phil [back here]... 

Phil had been going to different places, asking if we could use their fields for a football "fun day," but they all said no... Finally we met Jesus Durian Jr. (Coach Jojo), the technical adviser and director of TYFA, and Cathy Nazareno-Rivilla, the academy's executive director, who said yes right away, and the academy advanced from there. Things really happen for a reason. Imagine if we didn't meet them. Would we be in this room now? Would football be as big as it is now? They're also the ones who told us to get involved again in the National Team. We're thankful for that.

What is your dream for the Academy?

Phil: You know, football in the Philipines is considered an elite sport. It's played where people can afford to play, but around the world it's the complete opposite. In Brazil, Argentina, Europe, they play it on the streets. It's considered the sport for the masses.

It has lost that image in the Philippines. We want to bring it back...and create as many opportunities for kids. That's why we have scholarship programs. And we're trying our best to reach the whole of the country...not just those who can afford it. We want to see a crop of world-class players emerge and represent the country.

James: If kids can get a good education through [football] scholarships, that could get them off the streets. [They] can have a future in the sport; they could go on to get a decent job, do what they love, earn decent money, and have a nice family.

What are the challenges you've encountered so far with the Academy?

James: Schedule has always been our problem. When parents hear about the Younghusband football program, they expect Phil and I to be there. We also have to balance it with our National Team commitment. But, we really aim to be hands-on and pass on what we've learned. We're going to make it like a little show—coaches will watch, and Phil and I get hold of the team. Coach Jojo can translate for us, because it's very hard for us to speak [Tagalog], especially me.

What have you learned in football that you can apply in life?

Phil: James and I learned a lot of values through football in terms of discipline, hard work, and self-expression. With most [other] sports, you have the coach shouting out "You pass to him! You pass to him!" But in football you can't do that. You make the decision at the time of the game, and it depends on how the game situation arises...

That's the great thing about football: It's self-expression. You're on your own... And that's the way life is; one door closes and another one opens, but it's up to you to make the right decisions... We're trying to promote football in that way.

From previous interviews, we know that you were raised to put a prime on your education, as well. What career paths would you have taken, had you not gone into football?

Phil: My dad was a senior accountant and I'd probably follow in his footsteps. I have a degree in Mathematic Mechanics, so yeah, I'd probably become a senior accountant like my dad.

James: Probably, I'd do something involving the fine arts. I'd be a graphic designer, or maybe an architect.

What's your craziest college memory?

Phil: I got detention once, because we all took the train to school and my friends and I brought stink bombs. Well, we let them off and the whole train just smelled terrible.

James: I don't think I did anything too crazy in school. I mean, I got detention once, but that was because I forgot my books. I was pretty good back in school; I wasn't a bad student. I was just always fidgeting and moving around.

I do remember one time: The bell had already rung to go to class, but I continued to play football. There was this one teacher who just screamed at me in front of everyone, and they all fell silent. The teacher went up to my face and screamed, spitting into my face as he was speaking. That's something I remember.

What are the top three things on your personal bucket lists?

Phil: Oh, let's see. I want to bungee jump, win the World Cup, and meet Roger Federer.

James: I want to meet Lionel Messi, jump out of a plane, and travel to Australia—I've never been there. Oh! And I want to go to Brazil for the World Cup.

You inspire and motivate so many people as part of the Azkals and with your Academy, but who inspires and motivates you? Who are your cheerleaders?

Phil: We have great people around us—our mom and basically everyone. They make sure that we stay grounded. We were raised well. We were taught to respect all people, we always make sure we're polite and kind.

We both look up to David Beckham. I look up to Roger Federer, even though I don't play tennis. I like the way he speaks, the clothes he wears. He does everything with class, and that's always what we try to do. There are a lot of different people we admire. Like for me, I try to look at their strengths, and put them into the person I am. 

Launch the gallery to see over 100 up-close and personal pics of the gorgeous James and Phil as they chatted with us over lunch.

To learn more about what The Younghusband Football Academy is up to, check out their Facebook page!

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