Academy coaches put 200 Thai youngsters through their pacesFrom the serenity of a river cruise which ended the players' first day in Thailand on Monday night, to the feverish buzz of a soccer clinic which saw 200 young budding footballers from the local area meet Royals' Academy coaches Lee Herron and Lewis Goater this afternoon...Reading Football Club has settled straight into its owners' home country.
Herron, Assistant Academy Manager at the club, explained how big a success the two-hour session with the Thai youngsters had been, exclusively telling readingfc.co.uk "It was a really, really enjoyable day for both players and staff.
"We welcomed 200 players from schools around the local area, all aged 11-14, and we took them for a coaching session which lasted two hours...and it was great!"
Reading's Academy set-up has been much-admired for many years now, and Herron explained how the afternoon's session took form and how both the young Thai players and the Royals' coaches will benefit from such a positive experience...
"It was good to have some Thai coaches supporting us, who were all first class, and we were using just one full size football pitch...which with 200 kids made it very tight at times," he said.
"We warmed up as one big group, where we went through the fundamentals of movement and ball contact. Then we separated the players into separate stations, comprising of dribbling excercises, 'me and my ball' - our younger age group philosophy which helps players learn to love the ball, progressing on to passing sequences, possession excercises, both directional and non-directional, before finishing with a competition-based section which included some small-sided games.
"All 200 kids had Reading Football Club colours on and it is certainly apparent that they are embracing the football club out here already. This is only the second time I've been here and you can definitely see the magnificent work that the club are putting into this project.
"And I was impressed by the quality, the technical ability of lots of the young players we worked with," he continued.
"Thailand has talent. It's just about making sure that talent is realised and that there is a potential pathway for it to develop further. We hope that maybe we can help with that going forward.
"We know that football is a global game and we know how popular it is, but until you come to a country like this, 11 or 12 hours from our home shores, and you see the passion for the Premier League and the desire and dreams of the young players, all wanting to be professional football players, you perhaps don't realise how much of a football-mad country Thailand is.
"Any help that we can give, we will. Anything we can do to support and develop football in the region, we will to the best of our ability.
"But it's a two way thing. It's important for us as well, because we learn from them too. In the short period we've been here, we've learned a lot from the local coaches and from the players themselves, working within a different culture and environment out here in Bangkok. We'll definitely take a lot away from this afternoon."