On Friday, 20 November NIST and the Chelsea Football Club Foundation officially marked the opening of Chelsea FC Soccer School Bangkok. The soccer school aims to offer opportunities for all young players, male and female, from ages 4 to 16 years old to connect through a very unique and authentic Chelsea FC Foundation programme.
Chelsea FC Foundation International Development Manager Ian Woodroffe remarked, “Since the Chelsea FC ‘Here to Play, Here to Stay’ first team tour to Thailand in 2011, it has been our mission to develop the right partnerships that positively support the community soccer school programmes, thus helping Chelsea FC leave a legacy beyond the first team tour games. In 2013 and more recently 2015 we played in an exhibition game versus the Thai All-Stars as part of the post-season tour after winning the 2014-2015 premier league title.
The partnership with NIST is extremely positive and a very unique, new model as we now venture into a new phase of football development. To many, the NIST relationship could be perceived as exclusive. However, this is far from the truth. The strength of the relationship between the Chelsea FC Foundation and NIST stems from their shared values. Both organizations are not-for-profits that seek to enrich youth by inspiring and encouraging them to pursue individual excellence and improve their performance through participation in this beautiful game.”
James MacDonald, Head of School at NIST, stated that “NIST believes in supporting and enriching not only our students, but also the greater community. As a leading IB school, we strive to nurture learners who are balanced and principled. This parallels Chelsea FC’s philosophy, which includes a belief in fair play and respect for others. Through this partnership, we can enrich the opportunities for all youth in Bangkok through our own programmes and those at other schools.”
As the regional office for the Chelsea FC Soccer School Bangkok, NIST offers a central base and office with access to their FIFA-certified artificial pitch at set times throughout the week. Additionally, programmes will be offered at external schools, some of which are already in action at locations across Bangkok. Beyond the coaching sessions at these schools, other programmes on offer at NIST include holiday courses, weekend coaching clinics, player development programmes and specialised activities.
Woodroffe also provided a preview of the soccer school’s future: “We will also be offering many opportunities to play fixtures and structured competitions, both in Thailand and with our other soccer school partners in Asia during 2016. High points to watch out for will be the regional football festival hosted at NIST during August 2016 and a UK coaching visit, where we aim to take a group of players to our training facility in Surrey for a true blue experience.
We hope the the wider community will also appreciate that by placing two of our own Chelsea FC Foundation coaching staff from the UK in Bangkok to run and develop the programme, this will take will take it to another level. We pride ourselves on being unique, as well as training our Thai coaches the Chelsea FC way, making us very confident this will impact the football community positively.”