Last month’s visit by Premier League Club West Bromwich Albion’s Under 16 Academy young stars of the future has provided a huge boost for our youth football.
The visit was a memorable experience for young Thai footballers with clinics provided by WBA Youth Academy staff and a match to be remembered against Thailand’s young All Stars. However our visitors were also able to learn and gain invaluable international experience with their first taste of Thai hospitality and culture. This was the first time an official English Premier League youth team has come to Thailand; however the visiting Club is no stranger to Asia.
It is now 39 years since Albion became the first English professional club to travel to China in an historic trip. The Club is again competing in the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong against rivals Liverpool, Leicester City and Crystal Palace later this month. A press conference was presided over by Suwat Liptapanlop of behalf of True Arena Hua Hin before the commencement of coaching clinics for Hua Hin’s aspiring young players and then an evening game featuring the Thailand under 16 ‘All-stars’.
Robert Traill, Director of Traill International School, an essential partner in the visit, said he is hopeful that there will be more visits in years to come. His involvement in the planning has meant multiple overseas trips to negotiate the visit and to reassure the visiting Club that Hua Hin would be able to provide all the essential facilities and infrastructure.
Our discussions with the WBA Youth Academy Coach Peter Gilbert and members of the visiting squad confirmed that their trip had exceeded all expectations with the frequent comment that they have enjoyed facilities of a ‘Premier League’ standard. The visiting U16 team was touted one of the strongest U16 teams developed by West Bromwich Albion, having already beaten Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton this season. A number of future English star players came with this team, with more than five now playing for England and Scotland.
The Thailand All Stars came up against a very skillful and drilled opposition. In the end a 6 -0 result to the visitors wasn’t really important; this was an ‘everybody wins’ result, especially youth football in Thailand!