Girl Power: EPA and the West Ham Foundation aim to Empower Girls in Thailand through football
SOUTH EAST ASIAN LIONESSES - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL TEAM
West Ham United Foundation
There’s no denying the worldwide popularity of football; it delivers tons of happiness and joy to both professional and grassroots players, as well as more than 3 billion people watching around the globe. Of course, football is popular among men, but women are also avid fans and players. For example, look at the West Ham United Women’s Team. You will find a squad of highly talented players from ten nationalities who have inspired thousands and given hope to the sport in regions where it is not so popular among women.
When West Ham United celebrated international women’s day, Chris Cronin, the Head Coach of the Women’s & Girls Performance Academy, commented that the sport had gained mass traction among women over the past few years. Different West Ham United Foundation initiatives have provided support and coaching to girls as young as eight years old to follow their passion for becoming pro footballers.
Player Pathway Program
The player pathway program provides opportunities to young girls in the age group of 8-16 of all abilities. Then there’s the Premier League Kicks program that works with young girls and boys aged between 8-18 in high-need areas. The efforts of the West Ham United Foundation have empowered girls and allowed them to become more involved in football. By overcoming the social challenges between them and football, the girls have reportedly expressed increased happiness. One of the participants reported that she had made new friends while partaking in her favourite sport. It was the best time she had had in a while.
The foundation also offers two degrees in partnership with the University of East London. It provides individuals with an excellent opportunity to start their sporting career along with a chance to work in a Premier League Club has resulted in several notable alumni that serve as a source of inspiration for girls looking to pursue a full-time professional career in football.
Women's Football in Thailand
Like in many other regions around the globe, women’s football in Thailand has seen a surge in popularity, though it can do better. Parents need to realise that football is an excellent way for young girls to remain active and healthy. Amidst the pandemic, people have been learning online and stuck in front of a computer screen. Football is the right sport to help kids, especially young girls, get outside, socialise with their friends and get some exercise. Of course, any football academy in Bangkok will have a team of young boys, but how many of them have a girls’ team with specialist coaches and a pathway into a professional team?
EPA is launching a football club that will target South-East Asia. The new football team SEALs (South East Asian Lionesses) will provide young girls with a passion and skill for football. In addition, the partnership between EPA and the West Ham United Foundation will significantly aid in the cause of recruiting young girls into football training with ample opportunities to make it into Elite Sports or high-paying Educational Scholarships.
Opportunities for Women in Thailand
As mentioned above, the long-term goals of the EPA and the West Ham United Foundation in South-East Asia will be in Bangkok. However, they will focus on Thailand in the short term. As a result, the landscape of women’s football in Thailand may very well be changed as more women. Young girls will have better opportunities to partake in football training regardless of their financial situation and the chance to go pro in the long run.
Football helps to devlop social skills
EPA will create an opportunity for parents who would like their children to be a little more outgoing, make friends, and develop their social confidence. In addition, some physical activity after a long period of staying indoors is good for the physical and mental health of the children.
There are opportunities for businesses to support this innovative and beneficial cause. Unfortunately, women’s football in Thailand may not currently have the profile it deserves. Still, with the combined efforts of EPA and the West Ham United Foundation, football for women in Thailand may about to take a turn for the better.’
It is a project with limitless potential to create pathways into education and elite sport that can revolutionise the benefits and opportunities for youth football in South-East Asia, and women’s football in Thailand may be the first to undergo and experience its effects first-hand.