TWELVE teenaged footballers from Thailand are receiving a bird’s eye view of the sport in the UK during a month long visit to the FBT International Football Academy.
The Wakefield based academy which trains at the West Ridings FA stadium in Fleet Lane, Woodlesford was launched last year and is part of the Romiro Sports Group of companies. With players from around the world and across the UK, it provides top level football coaching plus access to professional career opportunities combined with education and qualifications through Wakefield College.
The Thai footballers’ visit came about through fellow Romiro Sports group company, sports and teamwear specialists, FBT Europe Ltd which is linked to FBT Sporting Goods based in Bangkok, Thailand.
“We hope this will be the first of many, offering 13-18-year-olds the chance for a football and cultural visit to the UK. They are experiencing a wide spectrum of English football with visits to many clubs including Leicester City, Sheffield Utd, Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester City, Manchester Utd, Burnley and an England match. They are also studying English with lessons through Wakefield College and with a tutor and are training both with our Academy lads and on their own,” explained the Academy’s Director of Football, Chris Turner.
“Their time is well planned and they are enjoying it.”
While the players are visiting the Academy, they are staying at the Cedar Court Hotel in Wakefield which has pulled out all the stops to provide a home from home.
“Given the age of the players and their limited English, we’ve accommodated them close together and they’ve been liaising with chef and his team on meals. While they are keen to try British cuisine, when home sickness has kicked in they’ve also requested authentic Thai food which has given chef the opportunity to make curries and Thai salads,” said the hotel’s Deputy General Manager Paul Donkin.
“They are obviously very committed to their football and have been taking every opportunity to watch matches live and on TV. They are also mindful of the calories in their food and have been making use of our leisure facilities and grounds to help maintain their fitness.”