During this year’s summer holidays, a frenzy of youth soccer tournaments took place in four regions across Thailand. Sponsored and organized by MILO Football Academy, the tournaments in the Bangkok, Northern, North-Eastern and Southern regions were open to Thai kids and youth from 7 to 15 years of age.
International School Bangkok (ISB) student, Ethan Speirs, competed for one of the 128 teams in the Bangkok tournament. Finishing second place in the region, his team progressed to the finals where the top eight teams from the regions battled it out for the national championship.
The Milo talent scouts watched from the sidelines and selected 48 players from age groups, U-8 to U-14 to attend a four-day training camp with FC Barcelona coaches in Chonburi. Having spent time with these boys in training, Barcelona’s professional coaches assessed them for footballing talent as well as their attitude to the game on and off the pitch. They then chose 8 from the 48 players. Three players from Ethan’s age group were invited, based on these qualities, to represent Thailand and visit FC Barcelona’s ground in northern Spain at the end of September.
So, at the end of a long, intense summer of football matches and training sessions, the 3,000 enthusiastic youngsters from around the country had been whittled down to eight talented players… until ultimately, the scouts had identified their three football stars in the making. And we are proud to say that Ethan Speirs was one of them.
Ethan attended the world-famous Camp Nou for a game watched by 78,000 fans. But the excitement didn’t stop there. The group toured the stadium’s impressive facilities and gained a glimpse into FC Barcelona’s illustrious history, before completing three days of training with the Barcelona youth coaches.
When a family member asked the scouts about the selection process, the feedback the coaches gave revealed that they were looking for a much broader set of qualities than simply outstanding footballing skills. The scouts had noted Ethan’s gratitude for the opportunity, his responsible behavior both on and off the pitch, his care and respect for the other players and organizers. He had also demonstrated integrity and a commitment to the hard work; and when he was unsure of the coaches’ instructions, he displayed courage by asking clarification questions during the coaching sessions. All of the qualities that run parallel with our own ISB values.
Ethan’s exciting journey embodies the set of ISB Learner Attributes that we aim to instill in our students and the core values that guide our community and learners. Outstanding talent on its own can only get you so far. It’s the attributes and values we promote at the heart of our curriculum that we believe help to make us better human beings, and help to open doors to incredible opportunities. Congratulations to Ethan for your impressive achievements this summer. We are all very proud of you.