Orn Champolin / Cambodia National Football Player
When I was a kid, I was always watching football games on TV. And one day I came to Olympic Stadium to watch national football team, and I started wishing I want to be a professional football player. I started training from around 10, or 11. At the beginning, I was just enjoying football and feeling happy when I play. I could forget all of my struggle. But when I started playing a bit more, my family didn’t support because they thought football in Cambodia didn’t have structure and they just wanted me to study and work. But I didn’t like that. I wanted to do what I really want to do. For me, that is playing football. And then I wanted to show them that football is also a great thing to do.
When I was 13, I tried the test of Phnom Penh Crown Football Club without saying anything to my family and fortunately, I passed the trial test. I was selected as one of the 22 players. At that time, I was feeling like my dream came true. But I told that to my family on the other day and they didn’t allow me to join, but the club said they would give me a study, food, everything. So finally they agreed. After playing 1-2 years in the club, they started supporting me. I’ve been selected for national team, in each category of U-14, 16, 18, and now I’m in the top team. When we win, I feel so happy, and even when we lose, I feel I can still improve. I can’t go away from football. Football is my life.
I also feel football in Cambodia is developing. At the same time, most of the parents want their kids to play football instead of staying at home. And football pitch everywhere. That is a big change compared with the time when I started playing and I would love to contribute for that.