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




Japan star Honda launches soccer school

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
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,” Honda said.

“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, he 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 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

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Capital set to beef up security

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng held the first meeting of the year with heads of armed forces in the capital to review and repair the deficiencies related to gun control, drug crimes, social order disruptions due to alcohol consumption and traffic law enforcement. Municipal