Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japan star Honda launches soccer school



Japan star Honda launches soccer school

AC Milan and Japan star Keisuke Honda holds a training session for schoolchildren at Olympic Stadium on Monday.
AC Milan and Japan star Keisuke Honda holds a training session for schoolchildren at Olympic Stadium on Monday.

Japan star Honda launches soccer school

One of Japan’s most acclaimed football stars, Keisuke Honda formally launched his Soltilo Soccer Academy in Phnom Penh, making Cambodia its ninth country, with the AC Milan forward promising to harness the power of dreams to inspire youngsters to achieve footballing excellence.

The 30-year-old Honda, who wears the No10 jersey for the Italian Serie A giants and has 60 caps for Japan, including at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, held a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel on Monday evening to announce the academy, which will have up to 100 students, initially in the 6 to 10 age bracket, with the chance to continue further depending on skill level.

It was during his first visit to the Kingdom in June that Keisuke was struck by the huge popularity of the game here and the sizeable number of youngsters it attracts.

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.

Now operating in nine countries, the Honda schools have been built on the player’s vision of creating a chance for kids to dream big when it comes to football.

“I was young when my parents got divorced. I loved them both. It was my father who showed me some video clips of great Pele, who was my childhood hero.

“Football helped me deal with my life in those days and my father had created a powerful dream for me in the game,” Honda recalled at the conference.

“I never lost hope, and I want to create for Cambodian children the dream my father created for me. So I have just one question for the Cambodian kids: ‘What is your dream?’

“I want this to be a long-term project, as long as it takes. There have been some investments so far, but we need to look for Japanese, local and international supporters and sponsors as we progress” said Honda.

“We have no commercial interest in this. Our aim is quite simply to give our kids the best possible opportunity to realise their footballing potential. And if we achieve that I am happy,” he said.

Soon after his arrival two days ago, Honda visited Siem Reap, and after an extensive tour of the world heritage city and its surrounds, Honda has struck a deal with the Siem Reap Football Association to develop second-tier Siem Reap Angkor FC as a development club for aspiring players.

“We will fully support Siem Reap Angkor FC as a team for the Cambodian youngsters to look at with pride,” the Japanese star said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Honda held two training camps for school-age hopefuls at Olympic Stadium.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants