It is the regular training sessions conducted in the football clubs which forms the basis of our activities.
It is the daily work in the football clubs that will form the future for the players, coaches, referees, leaders, parents, teachers and supporters. This, combined with the many possibilities to participate in various activities such as friendly matches with nearby schools and clubs, school tournaments, Fun Football Festivals on various levels, Children’s Grassroots Football Schools for the local community, mini leagues and cups as well as the annual FFAV Cup makes up the football life for all involved.
If we also can retain the players longer, we will enable Vietnam to have more talents coming through the ranks of football, and deliver the best players to the professional football, thereby increasing the quality of domestic national leagues, and ensuring the Vietnam national teams better results internationally.
It all starts at the bottom, with the regular sessions in the clubs, where all are encouraged to play, regardless of talent, skills and/or coaches and parents ambitions; purely on the children and youths own interest. But the sky is the limit – why should not the next Messi come from Vietnam?
FFAV have from day 1 integrated various Life Skills elements in our activities. We try to include Life Skills which are need based; they should reflect the situation in the local communities.
FFAV aim to integrate these activities in a natural way, in form of competitions and games. Learning through playing is very effective, and studies have proven that Life Skills obtained through activities are more likely to be understood and remembered than when the same information and training is done in traditional ways, such as regular classroom training.
All FFAV activities contain elements of Life Skills, from regular training sessions in the club, to the high profile events such as Fun Football Festivals on district level and the annual FFAV Cup.
FFAV sometimes initiate cooperation with professional development organizations who are the real experts on the thematic area which we want to address, but using FFAV developed methods. In some cases FFAV have provided training for these organizations, so they can provide their messages and information through football activities, which are always very popular in the communities.
Currently FFAV have focus on the following thematic areas:
– HIV/AIDS prevention and stigma/discrimination
– Environment Protection
– High Risk Education on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)
– Sanitation and Personal Hygiene
– Communication Skills
– Traffic Safety
– Goal program – sport and life skills education to transform the lives of adolescent girls
One of the biggest children’s grassroots football events in Asia and worldwide, the FFAV Cup attracts between 3,000 and 4,000 participants each year. Teams are coming from all over Vietnam as well as from other Asian countries, e.g. Laos and Thailand. It is creating an opportunity for children from different backgrounds to meet, play football and form new friendships. It is also an impressive display of the potential behind children’s football and the sight of the opening parade when thousands of players are walking through the city is impressive year after year.
All matches take place at 5-aside or 7-aside-football pitches scattered all around Hue city, depending on the age class. They start from 07.00 to 10.30 in the morning and from 14.00 to 17.30 in the afternoon. Each match has one referee. Observers support to hold matches at pitches during the Cup. Additionally, our Volunteers also support match organisation and ensure participation of all players in all matches and safety at the Cup. All teams are playing in 4 different classes for ages U11, U15, children with disabilities, and U15 elite players from national and professional academies.
Activities off the pitch
Similar to the Fun Football Festival, there are life skill games and activities around each match venue, so children never get bored, even when not playing. During the Opening and Closing Ceremony, speeches are kept short and few in favor of entertaining performances by participants themselves. These also enable a cultural exchange for the players from the various distinctive regions of Vietnam and from other countries. With friendly assistance from the Hue Department for Culture, Sports, and Tourism, all participants also get a free pass to visit the historical sights of Hue during the festival, like the famous citadel or the tombs of the old kings.
Fun Football Festivals
A Fun Football Festival is a one-day event, with the essential goal for each child to have as much time on the pitch as possible. The main emphasis lays on the “Fun” and all activities are held in a way that children are never bored, even when off the pitch. It is usually organized on community or district level, with children from different communities meeting each other, making new friends or seeing old ones again. Teams have the chance to play against others on the same level and age group, which is often limited during regular training sessions. Since a Fun Football Festival is attended by 100 – 1,000 players, there are more than enough chances to play against
All matches are non-competitive, meaning that instead of goals, we count smiles. Teams are playing in a simple round robin structure, so each will have an equal amount of matches, and there are now final rounds, no 1st or 2nd places. Teams are playing on 5-aside or 7-aside pitches and each match half lasts between 10 – 15 minutes. Following FFAV’s values, each coach is encouraged to ensure equal time on the pitch for each player of his/her team and there is no limit for the number of substitutes.
Activities off the pitch
During the time when children don’t play matches, they have the opportunity to join numerous life skill activities and games: Team and ball games, puzzles, drawing competitions, songs and dances. These are organized around the pitches and teach in a fun way about important topics ranging from HIV/Aids and personal hygiene to traffic safety and the dangers from unexploded remnants of war. Which of these topics are in the focus during the Fun Football Festival is decided by the local organizing team. During the midday heat after lunchbreak, football matches are suspended until the early afternoon. Instead teams can volunteer to entertain participants with performances on the stage, like dances, songs, or short plays. At the end of the day, small souvenirs or tokens – e.g. medal – are rewarded to each child and all return home with happy memories, waiting for the next Fun Football Festival.
Children Grassroots Football School
This event usually lasts one day or half a day and is held on community level. It is open for participation from all students of the school who are not club members. Coaches and club members arrange several different football training exercises and matches. For many children this is their first experience with organized football activities. It is both a way to raise interest among children and to solidify the grassroots football mentality within the community.