Football academy raises young footballers’ dreams

The Hoang Anh Gia Lai- Arsenal JMG Academy is considered not only the best place to train professional footballers in Vietnam, but also the most selective. SGGP visited the academy to see how the future talents of Vietnamese football are coming along.

Quang Huy performing a body-swerve on the academy’s training ground (Photo: SGGP)
It has chosen just 16 students among 7,000 applicants in 2007 and 10 students from 10,000 in 2008.
 
Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Group’s vice director Vo Truong Son said that most students in the academy come from disadvantaged backgrounds and the aim of the academy is not only to take care and teach them how to play football, but also guide them to become useful and well-educated adults.
 
The facilities of the academy are very good. From the bedroom to the dining room, all the floors are laid with expensive China wood. The academy is also equipped with ten outdoor and indoor football pitches.
  
The living conditions for students are also good.
 
The annual living cost of each student is about VND400 million (US$21,620).
 
Everyday a student has five meals, including six dishes such as seafood, meat, yogurt and fruit.
 
The students have daytime classes for general knowledge and night time classes for foreign languages. The remaining period is used for practicing football skills.
 
Thanks to good care from the academy, all the students grow up healthily.
 
Nguyen Quang Huy, 14, is such an example. After one year at the academy, his height has increased by ten centimeters while he has gained nine kilos. His football skills have also improved considerably. Currently, he can juggle the ball 3000 times.
 
Another good example is Luong Xuan Truong from the northeastern province of Tuyen Quang. After two years at the academy, Truong is an unofficial translator for some of his friends.
 
A coach at the academy, Tran Van Minh, shared some ideas about teaching methods of the academy with SGGP: “All the students must get familiar with a life stuck with the ball. Every activity, from eating, sleeping to entertaining will be stuck with the ball. In particular, they watch football on TV and their bedrooms are designed to have ground-floor views.
 
“Our academy only trains the students to be strikers or midfielders, since we believe a striker can handle other positions as well, but not vice-versa.”
 
Minh also noticed that among 16 entrants to the academy, there is only one J’Rai ethnic student, K’sor Ut.
 
With a dream of becoming a football celebrity like Maradona or Ronaldo, this student can now juggle a ball and change clothes at the same time. He also can use 12 parts of his body to juggle the ball.
 
The coach also highlighted the most outstanding player among the 16, Nguyen Cong Phuong from the north central coastal province of Nghe An. His best performance is kicking the ball in the air while running 105 meters within 20.5 seconds.
 
He is also one of the students with most potential at the academy. He is expected to grow up with not only excellent football skills, but also with a solid education background.
 
With all the current operations and some initial results from the training, the academy is believed to be a good place to train future professional footballers, and help them raise and follow their dreams to bring a better reputation for Vietnamese football abroad.
 
HAGL – Arsenal JMG Academy is a football academy in the Central Highlands town of Pleiku. The academy was a built as cooperation between Arsenal Football Club and a Vietnamese privately-owned corporation, Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
 
One of the aims of the academy is to help to improve Vietnam’s national football team in future matches.

By Staff Writers – Translated by Truong Son

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