Thai football’s successful development formula over the past several years hinges on the youth training system. They indicate a unique and highly efficient model.
In the photo: Two junior players from Bangkok Soccer School. Courtesy of Bangkok Soccer School. (Photo: Bangkok Post).
Modern football academies with liaison with foreign training centers like HAGL Arsenal-JMG have mushroomed in Thailand. A few simple clicks will reveal major football academies, such as Arsenal Soccer, Can You Kick It, Bangkok Soccer, and Infinito Soccer & Gymnastics School. The number of incubators in Bangkok alone has reached 13.
This has sometimes given parents a headache over the best academy to send their son to. In addition, to realize their goal of joining the World Cup in the near future, Thai people are ready to send their most promising batches to world-leading youth incubators.
A unique, efficient model
In the photo: A large number of youth training centers have burgeoned across Thailand. Photo: Bangkok Post
Over the past several years, Thailand has grown into a richly potential land for European football teams to tap into. Topnotch clubs including Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Leicester City and Everto have made forays into this lucrative, tempting market for market shares. They forge ties by setting up youth training centers in conjunction.
The number of football academies has multiplied over time in the land of “golden pagodas.”
While foreign clubs have rushed to invest into Thai football, domestic clubs also make it a point to ripen their youth training foundation. A team normally has only one training center. Nevertheless, a difference has been spotted in this Southeast Asian country. A team may have up to two academies. For instance, MuangThong United runs Assumption Thonburi School, a “football school.”
MuangThong United pours a great amount of money into Assumption Thonburi School every year to develop the academy. Other major clubs have also adopted a similar model to set up and advance their youth football by running their own incubator and joining hands with well-furnished schools. This is temporarily considered the “backyard” to supply young players for clubs.
In the photo: Thai football pays due attention to youth training. Photo: Bangkok Post
If each club on the land of “golden pagodas” has at least two football academies, coupled with satellites in cooperation with other schools, not less than 100 youth incubators have cropped up in Thailand. Along with foreign-invested academies, this Southeast Asian country currently possesses a robust, sturdy youth training system. Thailand therefore will never run short of young talents.
Turning to other countries to realize the World Cup goal
Last year, Vietnam football took pride in exporting HAGL Arsenal-JMG’s batch of young talents including Cong Phuong, Tuan Anh and Xuan Truong to other countries. However, we are lagging far behind Thailand regarding the growth of youth football.
Late last month, the media revealed 30 young Thai footballers are drilling hard and stand great chances at Leicester City. This is indicative that Thai people are highly serious and have devised detailed plans to achieve their great dreams, including earning a spot at the World Cup. Local tournaments are no longer fit for their current ranking. Instead they need a more powerful boost to improve player quality.
Now that Thai football has an abundant supply of talents, their remaining task is honing the “raw nuggets.” Thailand’s youth football training system is currently highly modern; however, it still lags behind that of other football powers. Fully aware of that, Thai people sent their promising batch for training at Leicester City, one of the best incubators in the UK.
Thai people aspire to realize their goal of winning a ticket to the World Cup. Photo: Bangkok Post
Furthermore, the Thai government has also extended ties and encouraged major academies based in other countries such as Brazil and Germany to invest in the country. Alongside new youth incubators, young players will only have opportunities to practice abroad.
Last year, a group of eight players aged 10 to 16 from the BISP Cruzeiro incubator based at the British International School, Phuket (Thailand) practiced for one month right at Cruzeiro Club. Last month, a number of young winners of the AP Honda Red Champion program were also sent to the UK to practice at two world-famed incubators, MU and Liverpool.
Developing a Thai football team with the “true, moral and aesthetic” elements
In the youth training environment, budding players not only receive instructions on how to develop their professional skills but also on their conduct. Thai people are aiming at batches of young players who possess all the “Real talent- Good conduct- Aesthetic values” qualities.
Geoff Potter, board chair of Ascot International School, revealed that alongside drills on the pitch, the boys are also taught how to appreciate life values, make victories and face flops.
“All players desire triumphs; however, they sometimes have to face failures. Wins are always the fruits of the entire team and intrepidity. This invaluable lesson is what the trainees are supposed to take in and make the best of in future,” Mr. Geoff Potter noted.
Based on a methodological, logical and efficient youth training platform, which also aims at humanitarian values, Thai football has thrived step by step and reach beyond the confines of the Southeast Asian arena. At the 2018 World Cup qualifying round, the Thai national team almost put one leg into the final. Nevertheless, that is not the ultimate limit of the pagoda land football.