My first FFAV Fun Football Festival

Michael Dao is a PhD candidate of the University of Toronto doing his research on sports for development in Vietnam. He is now working as a volunteer in FFAV project. Yesterday, it was the first time he participated in FFAV Fun Football Festival. Let’s see how he enjoyed and experienced in the Friendship Fun Football Festival in Nam Dong district this past weekend.

If you looked at her from a far you would notice her football kit: a bright green shirt with “Milo” written on the front and “Football for All in Vietnam” written across the back. But if you took a closer look you could see she was wearing something else; a smile that stretched from ear to ear. She ran on the pitch in bouncy strides, giggling with every touch of the ball. Her laughter filled the air and her playful demeanor captured the atmosphere. She was a picturesque example of the many experiences during the Fun Football Festival in Nam Dong district this past weekend. It was an amazing day filled with never-ending playfulness and laughter.


Playing hard with teammates on the green field

This was my first time participating in a FFAV Fun Football Festival. I was able to observe, interact, and converse with many different people. A common theme that resonated across the eight different football pitches was fun for the children. Holding true to FFAV values there was little to no competitive aspects during the many football matches held throughout the day. Any signs of frustration came from wanting to play better, but as soon as hands went up in anger there was always comfort from friends and teachers. Everyone understood that ideas of winning and losing were to be left off the pitch. There was pleasure among the children by simply being able to play football with each other.

Football was not the only activity children participated in. I enjoyed watching the children participate in life-skills games, drawing pictures about various topics, and what seemed to be the most fun – signing and dancing. Although the football pitches separated children from age, gender, dancing and singing broke down those categorical separations. The image of dozens of children interacting with one another during what seemed to be a true moment of happiness will be a fond memory of mine. It came to a point that so much energy flowed through the event even adults participated in the dancing and singing.


Fabulous musical performances by kid players

The FFAV Fun Football Festival in Nam Dong was an experience I am grateful to have. To see children play together in way that only emphasized elements of fun showed me the positive work FFAV is doing here in Thua Thien Hue Province. By providing environments like a Fun Football Festival so children can come together to play and learn sheds light onto the impacts emerging from FFAV activities.


Michael Dao (man in black) rewarded small tokens to each child

Michael Dao