Meeting Anh and Hoang

In the previous article, we shared moving stories of Huong and Du, two young players from Hai Dang Football Club in Xuan Phu Social Center. Now we introduce the two other players, a part of  FFAV’s football delegation, Le Thi Ngoc Anh and Truong Dinh Hoang, who will be participating in the “Football for Hope” Festival in Russia this June. The four players all come from disadvantaged backgrounds with extremely low income families. Xuan Phu Social Center is now their home where they live, learn and play as they are supposed to at such young ages.

Ngoc Anh grew up with her parents and her older sister. Her little family faced mounting catastrophic losses since she was in very young age. Not long after the historic flood in 1999 had washed away all they had, her mother was tragically hit by a lightning bolt when she was working on the rice paddy. Her sister was only 16 years old at the time but she had to leave school to work in order to support the family. Life has been hard for Anh and her family. Eventually, Xuan Phu Social center took Anh in and has raised her till now.

Dinh Hoang’s childhood was an unfortunate one. He witnessed his father pass away in great pain. Hoang’s father suffered from nerve disorders after he left the army. His illness got worse over time and in a moment of where he lost complete control, he set himself on fire. He died of severe burns all over his body 6 months later. Hoang recalled: “Those painful memories will never leave me. After my father died, we sold our house to pay up the debt. My mother and I had to sleep under the bridge or in any corner we could find in the market.” Hoang’s mother then decided to find work in another province. Hoang was sent to his grandmother house. He lived there until Xuan Phu Center discovered him and took him in.

T-P (Dự-Hoàng-Hường-Ánh)

Left to right: Du-Hoang-Huong-Anh 

After joining Xuan Phu Social Center, they both try hard to learn and better themselves to become a good citizens for their community. They are also very active in social activities at school such as football, swimming, playing instruments and paintings. Football, especially, is something they all share. Anh told us: “Football is an easily accessible sport for everyone. After school, we gather in the pitch and play with each other until it gets dark. We have a new pitch with artificial grass so it does not hurt our feet as the old one did.” Hoang plays on his class’s football team. He shared about the differences between playing at school and playing in the center’s club: “At school, when there’s a football tournament among classes, we always try as hard as we can to win the game. However, when I play in Hai Dang club and other FFAV’s festivals with my friends, we do not care about winning as much. Just being able to play and have fun together in a fun afternoon is enough for us.”

When talking about the opportunity they had in joining FFAV’s delegation this year, they could not hide the extreme excitement in their eyes. “When I was informed that we were going to Russia, I could not believe my ears. I jumped and ran around the room out of happiness with my friends after realizing the news was true,” Huong shared with us. Anh showed great interest when she was told that the delegation would be taught English and trained about Russian culture: “Football helps us become more confident in communicating with friends, more sociable and healthy. Now football even gives us a chance to travel abroad and network with friends from all around the world.” Hoang and Du are looking forward to meet and take pictures with famous football players such as Messi and Ronaldo.

We hope that the four young players will try their best to learn new knowledge and skills in the coming time to participate in the “Football for Hope” festival and to gain valuable experiences with football friends from different countries. This will help them step out of their current circumstances and transform into young agents representing the perseverance of Vietnamese people. They will also become the inspiration for other young friends who are in difficult situations as they were before.

Le Thi Hue