Young Thai footballers from poor, rural backgrounds were handed a shot at the big time yesterday, when Bangkok United joined hands with Charoen Pokphand Group to search nationwide for 20 talented youngsters who can be turned into professional players.
Application is open to schoolboys aged 11 to 13, as CP looks to boost dreams of football stardom for kids in remote towns and villages.
“We want to hand an opportunity to our youth, especially in remote regions, who want to become professional football players,” said Apaichon Vacharasin, CP Group’s vice president of corporate relations.
“The 20 youngsters [chosen] will earn the chance to train at the BUFC Academy under professional coaches from Bangkok United.
“They will also receive scholarships for the six years of our project. The scheme is part of our efforts to produce quality players in order to upgrade the sport in the country, which will help our national team to be competitive at the international level. We expect the project to attract more than 12,000 children across the country.”
Kachorn Chiaravanont, a TrueCorp executive and also Bangkok United president, believes the earlier kids get football coaching, the better their chances of realising the dream of a professional career.
“It’s best to begin training children at an early age, when they are keen to learn and receptive to what we say to them. It’s our pleasure to transfer our football knowledge to these youths. They are at the right age for learning. Under our guidance, they will be able to mature both as people and players. We will hone their skills until they’re 18 and they can begin a professional career.
“We want to see them succeed in pursuit of their dream to play in either the domestic league or abroad and bring success to the country in the future,” Kachorn told a press conference at True Tower yesterday.
Selection of the 20 players will be via a seven-a-side competition. Regional rounds will kick off in Nakhon Ratchasima on October 1 before moving on to 11 more venues across the country. For more information, call (02) 300 6193-6 or visit cp-enews.com.