Championing Female Football

Soeun Thyda has been playing football since Grade 6 and, despite facing challenges striving towards her goal, she harbours a dream of representing the national team
18-year-old Soeun Thyda from Tboung Khmum province is a female football player who dreams of becoming a goalkeeper.
18-year-old Soeun Thyda from Tboung Khmum province is a female football player who dreams of becoming a goalkeeper.

Soeun Thyda, 18, from Tboung Khmum province, is championing female football in Cambodia, having played the sport since primary school.

The Grade 11 student at Suong High School started playing football in Grade 6 both at school and alone at home.

Thyda said that she loves football and would like to be a good goalkeeper because it is an important position whose main duty is to stop the other team from scoring by preventing the ball from entering the goal. Protection is accomplished through the capture, clearance, or redirection of unsafe shots.

Being a footballer, she faces a lot of challenges. She doesn't have an athletic physique and hasn’t had parents living with her since she was 13-years-old, when her mother passed away and her father went back to live in his hometown in Prey Veng province. She lives with her grandmother in Tboung Khmum province.

Many people bully her for her body shape. She said people often taunt her, saying, “Your body is fat, and how can you run like other players? Why don’t you look at your appearance before you play football?”

However, these words have not stopped her commitment to be a goalkeeper who can play for the national team and can join a Cambodian club in the future.

She confirmed that her goal is to join Viskha Club, a Phnom Penh-based Cambodian professional football club. It was founded in 2016 and presently competes in the Cambodian Premier League, the highest level in the Cambodian football league system. Since 2020, the team has won three consecutive Hun Sen Cups and qualified for the AFC Cup play-offs in 2021 and 2022.

Challenges Make Thyda Strong

The process of training is a challenge in itself as Thyda's home is far from the training ground and she doesn't have a motorcycle, so she has to take a taxi every time.

At the same time, her grandmother doesn’t want her to train and play football because she is concerned about Thyda's safety and gender stereotypes. The sport is a physically demanding and forceful activity that carries a high risk of accidents.

However, there are numerous advantages to participating in athletic sports, such as enhanced physical well-being, improved self-worth, and the development of collaboration and interpersonal skills.

"When your daughter has an interest in joining football, it's crucial that you engage in a conversation that is open and truthful with her regarding the hazards and advantages affected," she advised.

Through training, Thyda has improved her skills. She said, “Now I can see myself as better than before because I have professional coaches to train me and have enough time to stay focused even though I used to get hurt. Now I have become confident with this position. ”

She confirmed, “Now I’m playing about 70 tournaments, and the results of winning is higher than loses, and I’m a member of X16 Club and Football Association of Tboung Khmum.”

Now, she has played with her team in several provinces, including Kratie, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Prey Veng, as well as Phnom Penh.

During the tournaments, she added that the goalie is essential in guiding over-field tactics because she has a completely unrestrained sight across the whole field, providing the players with an exceptional viewpoint of game progression.

Teams additionally have to plan the defence and interact with their fellow players to guarantee that they support each other because anything can happen and competitors have to make a quick counterattack.

Thyda said she would like to see more opportunities for women football teams because this can motivate women to be involved with sports more, especially those who have a dream to have a professional career with the sport.


Contact author of the article