Girls from Cambodian Children’s Fund will be in the first team from Cambodia to play in a prestigious football tournament in Singapore.
12 players from CCF have been selected to be in a Under 16 Girls team from Happy Football Cambodia Australia (HFCA) taking part in the JSSL Singapore Professional Academy 7s event, Asia’s largest youth football competition.
HFCA has been partnering with CCF for 14 years, offering disadvantaged young people in Cambodia the chance to play sport.
The CCF girls, aged between 12-14 years old, have been training hard since November 2022 to get ready to play.
The team were unveiled at a media event at CCF's Neeson Cripps Academy high school.
The seven-a-side tournament, which showcases young talent, runs from 7-9 April.
The HFCA team will play five matches with games lasting 22 minutes.
Now in its 8th year, JSSL 7s will welcome teams from around the world, including Australia, Korea, China and all over Southeast Asia.
“JSSL is extremely excited to welcome HFCA to Singapore this April. HFCA
will be the first team ever to compete from Cambodia in the JSSL Singapore
Professional Academy 7s,” said Harvey Davis, Founder JSSL 7s, Singapore Football Tournament
“The JSSL 7s is Asia’s largest youth tournament with over 400 teams and 5,000 players from 17 nations and having a representative team from Cambodia is a tremendous achievement.”
In 2017 JSSL added the Professional Academy 16’s category. Famous professional clubs from Europe such as Liverpool, Manchester Utd, Arsenal FC, Barcelona FC, and Atletico Madrid have since entered boys’ and girls’ teams.
“We’re all delighted with the news that Cambodia will be represented at the JSSL 7s tournament in Singapore and, of course, that it is the girls from Cambodian Children’s Fund who will be experiencing an international tournament and travel for the first time,” said Scott Neeson, CCF Founder and Executive Director.
All the CCF girls are excited at the prospect of visiting Singapore and playing in a competitive tournament, and spoke about the positive impact of football in their lives.
“I have learned so much through soccer, competitive sport really teaches me to be stronger,” says CCF student Chanthy (pictured speaking at the media event). “I used to be really afraid, I used to see obstacles as really tough challenges but now I feel that I am more confident taking on challenges.”
HFCA, which was formed in 2005, runs football programs in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. CCF students - boys and girls - attend football camps in Phnom Penh, learning not only football but vital life skills that can be used off the field, such as leadership and teamwork.
“HFCA is very happy these young girls will get to experience a great football tournament in beautiful Singapore. We hope they will inspire other Cambodian girls to play football,” said
Paraic Grogan, Founder HFCA.