S&A Academy forges friendship between Vietnamese and Thai footballers

(VOVWORLD) -The S&A Academy is a youth football training center, the result of a wonderful friendship between Doan Hoang Son and Apisit Kaikaew, former players of the national teams of Vietnam and Thailand respectively. The academy’s two stadiums in Ho Chi Minh City and a center in Bangkok opened their first training course in April last year. 
S&A Academy forges friendship between Vietnamese and Thai footballers - ảnh 1Coach Doan Hoang Son (R) and Apisit Kaikaew train kids at S&A Academy in Ho Chi Minh city (Photo: http://vietnam.vnanet.vn/)

Doan Hoang Son, a former captain of the Vietnamese Olympic Team, used to play for Dong Tam Long An and Hanoi T&T. Apisit Kaikaew was a striker for Binh Dinh in 2002 and 2003 and then played for An Giang in Vietnam’s first-class League. Apisit is a former national player of Thailand and played alongside the iconic Kiatisuk Senamuang.  Son and Apisit quickly became friends through their passion for soccer. Son told VOV: “I accidentally met Apisit, who spoke Vietnamese fluently. Chatting and sharing our stories, we gradually became closer and closer. Apisit is a sincere person.”

After his retirement as a player, Son wanted to do something to help more Vietnamese children play football. Visiting his friend, who was then assistant to the chief coach of Thailand’s National Football Team, Son was taken to many training institutions. Both were struck with the idea of establishing a soccer training center for Vietnamese and Thai kids, in which they could be trainers.  Son said: “I simply want to create opportunities for retired footballers to be trainers at the center. On the other hand, I want to create a playground for kids to improve their fitness.”

After a long period of preparation, the S&A Academy was established in Ho Chi Minh city and Bangkok. S is the first letter of the name Son and A is the first letter of Apisit, indicating the close bond of the two former national players. Luu Tien Nam, whose son is studying at the academy, said: "Since playing in this center, my kid has become more active, dynamic, and aware of his daily work and study.”

S&A Academy forges friendship between Vietnamese and Thai footballers - ảnh 2Young participants are trained at S&A Academy in Ho Chi Minh city (http://vietnam.vnanet.vn/)

S&A Academy nurtures kids’ love for football and trains them the most basic football skills, deftness, and precision. Some of the participants said:

“We learn a lot from the trainers.

I learn about the team spirit and concentration

I hope that many friends will be sent to Thailand to play football.”

The academy has invited Son’s close friends like Huynh Anh Tuan, Ly Lam Huy, Amaobi, and Nguyen Phat, who are all coaches certified by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Each month, Son and Apisit take turns to visit the training center in each country. Apisit said: "We plan to open more youth football centers in both Vietnam and Thailand. When this plan is realized, there will be a Vietnam-Thailand Youth Football Championship. I think this will be very interesting.”

Son plans to select the best students to compete in domestic and international tournaments and send players aged between 13 and 15 to Thai clubs for further training.