Credit by Keo Sophal, Next Step FC © Our Better World
Why This Amazing Football Player Says No to the Big Leagues   
PEOPLE Cambodia

Why This Amazing Football Player Says No to the Big Leagues  

An English football player, Charlie Pomroy, booked a one-way ticket from London to Delhi in 2011 with a purpose in his life to for an inspiration. Little did he know, in five years he would run Next Step FC in Cambodia alongside a magnificent 19-year old football player who believed he could change the world around him, Keo Sophal.

Our Better World, a storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation talked to Next Step FC founders about their inspiration to establish the Siem Reap’s only center of excellence dedicated to groom next Khmer professional football players.

Pomroy told Our Better World that when he first met Sophal, he was instantly drawn to him. He was a very talented football player he could do everything. After a game, he pulled Sophal aside and just said, “’Why are you still here? You should be in China. Go to Thailand. Play professional’. This is his time.”

With a firm belief, Sophal said he did not want to go there. “First I help my country, then I help myself.”

Next Step FC. Image: Our Better World
Next Step FC. Image: Our Better World

Pomroy started Next Step FC in 2014 around Sophal’s idea, that football has the power to change lives, communities, and countries. “It’s very rare that you find somebody that’s going to put other’s journey before their own. Sophal is a very special boy,” said Pomroy.

Today, Next Step FC offers young Khmer boys and girls the very best chance of creating a career within football. They deliver top quality coaching on the field to improve their technical and tactical skills and knowledge, a chance to play against the best academies in Cambodia, and exposure in front of some of the best coaches.

Next Step FC. Image: Our Better World
Next Step FC. Image: Our Better World

Off the field, Next Step FC also offers social and practical skills for life. Sophal told Our Better World, “My vision is my team to be professional football players with high level of education, they can help the country.”

A story by Our Better World– telling stories of good to inspire action

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