One of Japan’s most recognisable international football stars, Keisuke Honda, is all set for his second visit to Cambodia later this month to officially launch his Soltilo Familia Soccer School at two locations in Phnom Penh, one at the Rooy 7 Sports Club in Toul Kork and the other at the 3G pitches in Chamkarmon.
The 30-year-old Honda, who sports the No10 jersey for Italian Serie A giants AC Milan, has 60 international appearances, including the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, for Japan as an attacking midfielder often excelling in other roles as a winger and a deep-lying playmaker.
He is best remembered for his outstanding show in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup where he was named the player of the tournament.It was during his first visit to the Kingdom in June this year that Keisuke was struck by the popularity of the game and the sizeable number of youngsters it has attracted.
After several fruitful meetings with top Football Federation of Cambodia officials including its president, General Sao Sokha, Honda returned home convinced that he would be back to do his bit for the development of football in the country.
The Honda school, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, mirrors the Japanese star’s philosophy of helping youngsters better their lives through football. Founded in 2012, the Soltilo Familia Soccer School has a network of 60 such institutions involving up to 4,000 children in Japan and China.
“I am really impressed by the enthusiasm for football in Cambodia. This is a project I am proud of. It needs support from the private sector and people, but I am confident of its success,” Honda said ahead of his scheduled visit to the two locations of the school on November 15 and 17.
To facilitate enrolment to the school, free trial lessons for boys and girls in the age band of 4 to 15 have been planned for November 8 at Rooy 7 and on November 10 at the 3G.
Interestingly, 15 Japanese players were involved with different teams during the 2016 Metfone C League campaign, strengthening assumptions that the next season could well see that number increase.