Each Saturday and Sunday morning more than five hundred youngsters attend the free soccer coaching sessions at the ThaiBev Football Academy in Bangkok. Boys, and a few girls, of all ages and from all sectors of Bangkok society arrive to receive training sessions from experienced coaching staff.
ThaiBev, owners of Beer Chang, sponsors of the UK premiership team Everton FC, as well as several Thai premier league teams, provide the training sessions for free, and have done for the past nine years. In almost a decade more than twenty thousand youngsters have registered for training and several have gone on to play at a professional level in the Thai Premier League.
The boys from the Father Ray Children’s Home and Father Peter (second right) pose with officials from the Chang-Everton Football Academy.
The founding of the academy, which is also known as the Chang-Everton Football Academy, was one of the obligations of the Everton FC sponsorship deal with Chang Beer. Each year Everton FC send officials and coaching staff to the academy and the local coaches have worked together with the Everton FC staff to provide those attending with the best and most up to date training techniques.
Boys from the poorest slum areas of Bangkok arrive on foot to play alongside those who are delivered in the latest model of Mercedes car. But once on the pitch there are no social divides, everyone is expected to work hard, listen to what the coaches have to say and play together as a team. Players are expected to be on time, be serious about taking part, show respect to the coaches and also do well in their studies.
The soccer team from the Father Ray Children’s Home was recently invited to take part in a training session. Leaving Pattaya before the sun came up, it took a while to find the facility, but once there the boys were very impressed with the facility, which includes several full size soccer pitches.
After several hours of non-stop coaching the boys were exhausted, but happy in the knowledge they have gained new skills which they will put to good use the next time they have a competitive match.
Everton FC have said that they would like to be the first English Premiership team to have a professional Thai player, who knows, that first player may just come from the Father Ray Children’s Home.
More information can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected]
Showing off his soccer skills.
The coach made sure the boys put their new skills to good use.
The boys even helped to collect the hundreds of soccer balls at the end of the training session.