Stories from the Football Field

Flame’s Female Football Coach Chanthy

Chanthy, the Flame Head Coach shared some of her personal story with me as we attended the Tottenham Hotspur training together last month, led by @tottemhamhotspur development coaches @shawnharris and @antonblackwood.

Chanthy saw football being played years ago when she was working as a cleaner. She loved watching the kids have fun and could clearly see the benefits of football. When the coach resigned she couldn’t stand the thought of the kids missing out, so she put her hand up and became the new football coach. Since then, Chanthy has gained many football training qualifications and 15 years later, football is still her passion and joy.  She is now the assistant coach to the Cambodian Women’s National Football team as well as working with the six Flame Football teams. She has seen the power of football and in particular, the impact that it has on the lives of girls. 

She told me this story: 

“One day, a girl showed up at one of our training sessions. She obviously really loved the challenge of being on the field with the boys who were physically bigger and stronger than her… but then her father arrived. He ran onto the field wielding two long pieces of bamboo and started chasing her. She ran for her life but he caught up with her and started thrashing the backs of her bare legs, the sharp sticks welting skin. He was yelling brutally, “You are a girl! Why are you here? All the players are boys! Get off the field!!!” Chanthy ran over and put herself in-between the irate father and the girl, and tried to explain to him that his daughter would be able to become strong, and learn critical skills for life that would take her far… The marks on the girls legs needed ice and some care and she was crying bitterly but this did not stop her from coming back to training. The next session, she brought a friend and now there are 15 girls playing football regularly here.”

This is the Sensok Football team training with Cambodian National Team and Svay Rieng player @pidorsamoeun - not the one from Chanthy’s story - Please count the girls.

This is the Sensok Football team training with Cambodian National Team and Svay Rieng player @pidorsamoeun - not the one from Chanthy’s story - Please count the girls.