|Sam Schweingruber speaks to the assembled press corps in Khmer|
Born in Switzerland, Sam first came to Cambodia in 2003. Previously, in his home country he played in Third Division Swiss football for Munsterlingen, Oberglatt and Pfyn, though his interest in coaching had already began as a sixteen year old and he quickly passed his C and B coaching licences. He also coached at the FC Winterthur Academy and enjoyed Swiss Cup success at U-14 level before coming to Asia. In Cambodia he played for the Mild Seven team in 2003, quickly reverting to coaching the team and followed that with coaching spells at Royal Navy and Khmer Empire before deciding to open the SALT Academy in Battambang in October 2006.
Under Sam’s guidance, the SALT Academy has gone from strength to strength and has been the catalyst for an explosion of grassroots football in northwest Cambodia. Today, more than 2,000 youths and 1,000 young adults across the region are involved in the community-based football program as well as receiving life skills education and personal development training. The success of the Mighty Girls program, which creates a safe environment for at-risk girls, educates and challenges traditional gender discrimination in football, has been an outstanding success, providing most of the players for the Cambodian Girls national teams that Sam has taken to Laos, Singapore and Vietnam. Since 2009, Sam has been a FIFA Grassroots Instructor, managing courses all over Asia, training the coaches of the future both in grassroots football as well as Futsal. He also completed his AFC coaching A licence earlier this year.
Sam is 33 years old and with his understanding of Cambodian culture and language, he views this appointment as “an opportunity to test myself on a bigger stage, having had a fantastic time developing the SALT Academy and working with grassroots football for the past six years. For my first appointment in senior football, I couldn’t have chosen a bigger or better club to work with. This is a very exciting time and I can’t wait to get started. However, I will not relinquish all my ties with SALT and the Girls national team and Crown are committed to being involved with both in the future.” Sam will be supported with the coaching duties by the Academy Head Coach Bouy Dary, who will be first assistant coach, as well as Kao Kiry, Tes Sophat and Prak Vanny, all of whom are well-respected former Cambodian national team players.Phnom Penh Crown President Mr Rithy Samnang believes Sam is exactly the right man to take his club forward. “Sam has achieved fantastic success in grassroots football in Cambodia. He knows what it takes to develop football in the right way, building a sustainable model that is the envy of many other countries. He is the perfect individual to lead our club’s strategic objectives in the future, to develop a professional structure and act as a model for other clubs to follow, to improve the quality of Cambodian football through our Elite Academy and to evolve our fan and community engagement program. This is vitally important not just for Phnom Penh Crown but also for Cambodian football.”
|The PPCFC coaching team. LtoR: Bouy Dary, Sam Schweingruber, Prak Vanny, Kao Kiry|