Skip To Main Content

Empowering Dreams: UWC Thailand's Diverse Football Journey

Empowering Dreams: UWC Thailand's Diverse Football Journey
Steve Wallace, UWC Thailand Football Coach


Did you know that of the 175 different players that engaged in the UWC Thailand football programme in *rotations 1-2 this year, over a third of them were female?

As this area of our football programme continued to expand, we had girls in mixed Kiddie Kicker and grade 1 groups, as well as having 'girls only' lower primary (U9) and upper primary (U11) groups that grew to the extent that a new grade 4-5 girls team played their first friendly match on 16 March. 

Our Junior Girls team of multisport student athletes bounced back from a tough group stage in the 2024 ASAC Junior Football Championships, battling their way into the championship game, and fell only at the final hurdle to the hometown International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) team in a tight game (despite ending the competition with no available substitutes!). Their Senior Girls team counterparts (who won the 2023 Junior ASAC tournament last year in dominant fashion, winning all 7 games) sought to build a legacy. Last year's 3rd place finish in the Senior event as a predominantly grade 8 (Junior) team, was a significant achievement, and they were unfortunate not to win it all. In 2024, a year older and wiser, the team has set their sights higher.

As they ramped up their preparations for the 2024 ASAC Senior Football Championships in Cambodia from 20 - 24 March, they have worked diligently on their game understanding, particularly in the build-up phase. Their patience and resilience were evident in defeating a determined Kajonkiet International School team last Tuesday, coming out on top 3-1, building on a recent 4-0 away win at HeadStart International School. The secret of any good team is cohesion, but the team's diversity is another noteworthy aspect, with players from Thailand, Australia, England, Ireland, Russia, Slovakia, and, as of this season, Afghanistan, coming together to form a competitive squad.

Every player had their own journey within football, although a special mention is merited for Yulduz, grade 11 (Afghanistan), who made her debut for UWC Thailand last week. Yulduz showed admirable progress since arriving at the school last summer, with limited football experience. Stepping into an established team is no easy feat, but Yulduz has embraced the challenge with determination, putting in hard work at every training session.

"Because of the Taliban right now, education or any kind of football or sport is banned for women in my country. I remember during my school admissions meeting, one of the things I emphasised was pursuing my dream of playing football, which I eventually achieved. I recently had my first official football match, which filled me with both nervousness and excitement. I am immensely grateful to the individuals who supported me along this journey."

As the team looks ahead to the ASAC tournament, they do so with gratitude for the opportunities they have had and a quiet confidence in their abilities. They represent not just UWC Thailand but also a spirit of cooperation that transcends borders. Let's wish them the best of luck in Cambodia and congratulate them on their achievements so far!

* The UWC Thailand Co-Curricular Programme has three rotations. 

Rotation 1: 28 August 2023 – 24 November 2023; Rotation 2: 04 December 2023 – 13 March 2024; and Rotation 3: 25 March 2024 –14 June 2024