Training with Chelsea

The club was unable to pay outstanding debts totalling B83 million after being sued by three former international players after their contracts were terminated by the club for alleged misbehaviour.

Following the termination of the club, Chonburi FC took over the island’s football representation by forming and managing Banbueng Phuket City Football Club, playing out of none other than Banbueng Municipality Stadium in Chonburi, which happens to be 900km away.

Naturally this lost a fair few supporters who were already hanging on by a thread after years of uncertainty, leaving the Island’s football scene in the shadow of its former status.

One man who remains optimistic about Phuket’s footballing future is Jarupong Sangpong, or Gogo as he is known on the pitch. Gogo played professionally for Bangkok based clubs Army United FC and Police Tero FC (formally known as BEC Tero FC) who currently play in Thai League 2 having been relegated from the top flight last season.

After his retirement from professional football, Gogo became an assistant coach at Army United before moving to Phuket where his vision for the island’s youth took form.

When I came to Phuket I saw an opportunity to help build and nurture the young talent here,” Gogo told The Phuket News.

There are many children who love to play football, love to compete and dream of playing alongside their idols and need good quality coaching and guidance to get there.”

The former pro spoke of how football can be a gateway to great career opportunities around the country – something he is passionate about helping to create.

Football not only has the ability to open doors, it also improves physical and mental health – something I feel strongly about,” Gogo explained. “Which is why I decided to set up an academy for local children to train regularly with good quality coaching.”

Gogo is head coach of Success FC Academy – a youth football academy where he provides structured training for local youth after school at the Prince Of Songkla University, Phuket Campus football grounds. Proud parents watch in the stands as their children, proudly sporting Success FC jerseys, strive to be the next Ronaldo.

Thanyapura Sports Resort in Thalang is aiming to do more for youth football in Phuket, seeking to work with all clubs to help support the game on the island with the help of a new appointment in Steve Wallace, the company’s Football Head Coach & Business Development Manager.

Wallace, who played for Premier League side Newcastle United as a school boy and then coached with the club’s youth programmes, moved to Phuket in 2018 after spending 15 years in the states working as a football coach and club consultant, including development work for MLS (Major League Soccer) – the country’s top professional football league.

He was part of a group of coaches tasked with promoting the league through community coaching to raise the profile of the sport and promote the new league, which struggled to gain popularity when it began in 1996 in a country dominated by baseball, American football and basketball. However, the league has grown significantly over the years with total attendance at games in 2018 reaching 8,552,503 compared with 2,215,019 in 2002.

Now one of Wallace’s primary goals is to promote and grow football in Phuket.

When I first arrived in Phuket, I used to go for runs around the university grounds which is where I discovered the Success FC Academy,” Wallace told The Phuket News.

What impressed me was the structured format of the coaching. Gogo and his team have a very professional approach and are truly dedicated to the cause.”

Wallace volunteered as a coach to help the kids in the academy while starting to study Thai.

It wasn’t long before Wallace took up his new role at Thanyapura which came at a fitting time to bring together their shared vision of nurturing the island’s footballing youth.

There has been no youth league on the island for some time, which is something we want to help facilitate,” Wallace said.

Football has always been a sport that brings communities together and we want to use football to try to benefit local communities. This is why with the help of Thanyapura we could call on Chelsea FC to offer their expertise in having this event with Success FC this evening,” he explained.

Wallace emphasised that of all the big clubs he has worked with, Chelsea have stood out as the most professional and community-focused.

Thanyapura enlisted the proficiency of Chelsea’s senior international development officer, Laurie Griffin, to coach youth players in Phuket at an evening session last Tuesday (Feb 5) with Success FC Academy at the Prince Of Songkla University, Phuket Campus football grounds.

It is a great privilege to have such an outstanding coach training our local players, passing on great knowledge and stirring up new excitement for the sport,” Wallace said.

Laurie Griffin, who has worked at Chelsea for the past four years, having worked for Manchester United before that, works specifically in developing youth players. He travels all over the world coaching young players and coaches, with the sole aim of helping to develop football in places where the youth can benefit the most from it.

Our goal at Chelsea is to embed positive roots and make a positive impact on local communities,” Griffin told The Phuket News. “Our ‘Here to Play, Here to Stay’ initiative is dedicated to building education and football training platforms for children around the world. Everything we deliver is exactly the same as what we do in the UK. Our system is based on a not-for-profit model and four years into the programme, we are coaching over 1000 young players every week.”

Griffin went on to explain that the programme – which started with two members of staff and is now in its 45th country – shares the same vision as Thanyapura in giving back to local communities, with coaching education workshops given to help develop quality coaches who would be able to sustain and drive the vision forward.

A Chelsea International Player Development Project (hosted by Thanyapura Sports Resort) will take place from April 15 to 18. Young boy and girls will have the opportunity to train with professional youth coaches from Chelsea FC on their first ever visit to Phuket.

Original news from: The Phuket News

Above and beyond: Northern boys’ 24hr drive for Phuket tournament

The boys, all aged 11-13, were selected from a series of schools across the area to play in the U14 age group at the 8th Annual Phuket Soccer School (PSS) Tournament under team name, Tonkla Mukdahan.

After leaving their province for the first time and embarking on a 24-hour drive to Phuket, there was a mixture of nerves and excitement among the boys, according to foundation trustee Richard Burack.

Burack, a doctor from London, is one of four medical professionals that visit northern Thailand to host free medical clinics and educate local residents on health-related issues.

The morning after their arrival in Phuket, the boys participated in a training session at Thanyapura with Head Football Coach Steve Wallace, focusing on creating and taking scoring chances. This was the first time they had ever played or trained together, but they gelled quickly.

“I saw from the outset that these boys had some individual ability and loved their football. They were immediately engaged in the finishing activities, were easy to coach and played with a smile on their faces. Thanks to some great translation skills from Alwin Lias, they understood what I was saying and were able to take some new ideas on board to try out over the weekend.”

Something else new for the boys came after training – a trip to the beach to cool off in the water and to see the sea for the first time.

The question before the tournament from PSS Head Coach Martin Hill was if the boys would be able to compete against more experienced teams in an older age group. The answer came quickly as the newly created side defied the odds and raced to four wins and a draw on Saturday (Mar 9), scoring ten goals in the process.

Tonkla Mukdahan finished the tournament with a very credible second place after tired legs got the better of them in their final group game. But nothing could take away from a great weekend where they made some new friends through football and memories they will never forget.

–Steve Wallace

Original news from: The Phuket News

Phuket attracts international football teams

Dr Jozak visited Phuket this week as the guest of Thanyapura football head coach, Steve Wallace, to discuss training camps and friendly matches on the island for youth and full national teams.

Even though the 2018 World Cup in Russia is still fresh in the memory, the road to Qatar 2022 takes shape next week, with the draw for the AFC second qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur on April 17.

With the first round of knockout qualifying games already set for June, the six winners over two legs will then join the top 34 ranked nations in the region for group play in September, where Kuwait could potentially be up against the likes of Australia, South Korea, Japan and Thailand.

As part of their preparations, Jozak is leaving nothing to chance. There is a strong possibility that one or more of Kuwait’s group stage opponents will be from the SEA region, and he sees Thanyapura and Phuket as the right place to acclimatise to the conditions and prepare his team for such important games.

New Zealand national team head coach, Fritz Schmid, will also visit later this month, and it is meetings such as these that give Wallace hope that Phuket can become a place where football can gain higher visibility over time.

“One of my objectives is to try to bring some teams here so that that young players on the island can be inspired to play and improve. For all of the football that can be seen on TV, there’s no substitute for watching international players train in person or seeing them in a live game, both of which I’ll look to facilitate for local kids.”

Chelsea FC coaches will be in Phuket next week as part of the sold-out Player Development Project. During their stay, Thanyapura will host almost 200 Phuket children from local clubs and schools for free football clinics.

David Monk, Chelsea’s Senior International Development Officer, is looking forward to the week.

“I’m very happy that we have the opportunity to collaborate with Thanyapura on a free CSR event to give something back to local players, which is a key part of our club ethos”.

Original news from: The Phuket News