Ten Thai teenagers have been selected through the Fox Hunt season 3 campaign for a chance to be trained at the Leicester City Academy and study at Ratcliffe College near the English city for two and a half years.
The selected players, maximum age 15, have already survived a rigorous selection process that featured more than 4,000 competitors in 205 teams across the country.
The 16 boys who went in the inaugural campaign of 2014 have now finished their training and are back in Thailand, many of them still hoping to make football their career.
The latest batch will join the 16 who went to the UK two years ago and it was decided to send out only 10 this time because 26 was an ideal number to manage and better for them to integrate and shortcut their path to success said Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, CEO of Leicester owners King Power International.
“Our main goal is to give this exclusive experience for young Thais who will return home and become the future resources of Thai football,” said Aiyawatt, who added that around Bt15 million would be spent on each Thai throughout their training and educational period in UK.
After coming back from the UK, four of the 2014 group have been selected for Belgian league 2 side Oh Leuven, which is also owned by King Power. The remaining dozen are playing for Police Tero in Thai League 1, the top domestic tier.
AlistaIr Heath, the british head coach of the Fox Hunt team, said apart from the language barrier that these youngsters had to overcome, they also needed strong determination to achieve their goals.
“They must have the willingness to improve their football, be really competitive and try to win a game of football. But the most important thing is they have to enjoy football and then, playing professional football will be easier,” he said.
Thakdanai Jaihan, a 14-year-old member of the national under-15 team, is one of those who will fly to UK in April.
He and his new teammates will first take part in pre-training at VS Sport Club in Samut Pakan, where they will also have to attend a course in basic English.
“I’m overwhelmed to be chosen for this opportunity. I will try to acquire experience as much as possible and come back to fulfill my dream by making it to the senior national team and play for a good club,” Thakdanai said.