Festival time in rural Thailand

Chelsea Foundation Soccer School Bangkok recently visited Mechai Bamboo School to donate football kit and equipment and host a football festival for more than 300 young footballers.

The trip to the school in Khok Klang marked the conclusion of the Chelsea Football Club Young Leader’s Six-Month Community Coaching Programme from which seven NIST International School varsity students have successfully graduated. The NIST International School is the venue for the Foundation Soccer School.

Along with three members of staff from the Chelsea Foundation and nine players from the Chelsea Foundation Development Centre, the seven successful students signed off their time on the programme by co-delivering fun football sessions throughout the football festival to the local schoolchildren, before being awarded the Chelsea Foundation introductory coaching badge.

Foundation international head coach James Hargerty said: ‘It was a great opportunity to bring students from our home in Bangkok, NIST International School, to a community far from the city who share the same love for football as they do.’

‘For Chelsea to have the chance to positively engage with so many children from the area of Buriram, Thailand, shows the reach that the club has.’

Marianne Bostrom, who is a volunteer at the school, praised the festival and hopes to make it a yearly event.

‘The Bamboo School is built on the belief that a school should be a life-long learning centre as well as an engine of change for social and economic activity,’ she said.

‘The Chelsea Football Festival, held in rural Buriram, brought various communities together as a whole, using a school as a centre as well as promoting collaboration within the community, just as the philosophy of the Bamboo School.

‘To make this a yearly event would be great and welcomed among the students as well as their families and villages. Remember that Buriram has one of Thailand’s top football teams so football is the number one sport in this area.

‘The kind donations, from Chelsea, NIST and private families, will be distributed evenly among the four participating schools by students from the Bamboo School. You can be sure that the donations will be highly appreciated as well as needed.’