Monday, October 29, 2012

Passionate about football

Good dribbling skills from this young girl
It doesn't get much better than watching 180 kids enjoying themselves, learning new skills, making new friends and we hope cementing their love for the game of football. You'd expect that from young boys wouldn't you, but to see so many girls joining in with such enthusiasm and sheer gusto made it all the more satisfying. These are the footballers of tomorrow and Phnom Penh Crown's players and staff should feel very positive after their first Festival of Football was so well received this afternoon at the RSN Stadium in Tuol Kork. This is second nature to Crown's new head coach Sam Schweingruber, who's been involved in similar initiatives in Battambang for the past six years, but it was all new to the whole of the Crown first-team squad and the Academy boys, alongside the girls from the Cambodia U-15 team, each of whom had roles to play and responsibilities to help and encourage the younger children. With everyone divided into small groups, with a mix of boys and girls in each grouping, they rotated around a series of ten game stations which included heading, dribbling, shooting, passing and mini-5-a-side games, with the focus on learning with fun. The mix of boys and girls worked really well, with some of the girls showing skills the boys never expected to see, as well as determination to do their best. It was inspiring to see individual youngsters testing themselves and achieving things they might never have thought possible before today. We even spotted a couple of boys who did so well, they will test for the Crown Academy at the next intake. But the main focus was on having fun, trying something new and exciting, and making friends. That was definitely achieved, despite it being a very hot afternoon, so regular water-breaks were in order and one or two children got knocks that had to be treated by the physio. Crown president Rithy Samnang watched on as the first of his club's community activity events went like clockwork. Crown are dedicated to incorporating such events into their fan and community engagement plans for the future, building relationships with the local population, getting the club's personnel to participate and encouraging young children to be passionate about football. 
Heading practice for another youngster

One team of all ages waiting for the action to begin

The Crown 1st Team get their instructions from the coaching staff

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