Former top striker Ngoc Cham still living her passion

Though she's been retired from football for a decade, former national team striker Do Thi Ngoc Cham is still giving back to the beautiful game.

Former top striker Ngoc Cham still living her passion
Former national striker Do Thi Ngoc Cham is still popular for her beauty and talent. Photo zing.vn

After she retired from competition, she opened the CFF community football centre in Hanoi.

CFF stands for Cham – Football – Friends and aims to give children at the age of 5-14 a place to develop their skills and have fun.

At present, the centre consists of five training centres in Tay Ho, Long Bien, Tu Liem and Dong Anh districts.

“When I opened the CFF Centre in 2017, everything was quite difficult, busy and also I had to think a lot,” Cham said.

“I used to be a footballer. It was hard work. However, to complete my passion to be part of the game for life, even if it is a management role or the coach of a community football centre, it also takes a lot of effort.

“I was determined that I had to try to do well. A little mistake at any stage could affect my image and efforts of my 10 co-workers.”

Cham said the CFF helps her stay involved in the beautiful game after hanging up her boots 10 years ago.

“The CFF has only been open for about three years but has five locations in Hanoi with hundreds of students,” she said.

Most of Cham’s time is spent on the CFF, but she also participates in the Football for All in Vietnam (FFAV) project and occasionally receives invitations to appear on TV as a pundit.

Former top striker Ngoc Cham still living her passion
Do Thi Ngoc Cham trains a kid at the CFF centre. Photo zing.vn

 “The CFF is my passion and my life revolves around the centre,” said Cham.

A legend of Vietnamese women's football in the past two decades, Cham is still fondly remembered by fans. As soon as she burst onto the scene, she was tipped for big things.

At the age of 18, Cham became the main striker of the national women's team and Hanoi 1 thanks to her clever play and her nose for a goal.

In her career, Cham won a silver medal at the Southeast Asian Games and won the National Women’s Football Championship in 2008 and 2009, and was the top scorer both years. For her achievements, she took the Golden Ball award in 2008.

Former top striker Ngoc Cham still living her passion
Do Thi Ngoc Cham took the Golden Ball award in 2008. Photo idolvnnet.com

Pursuing passion

In 2010, Cham retired at the age of 25 due to a severe knee ligament injury and became the assistant coach of Hanoi 1 for 2011-12.

In her new role, she and coach Gia Quang Thac led Hanoi 1 to win the national championship in 2011. As a coach of Studio Kids Training Centre for Children, she and former men's international Nguyen Hong Son helped their team win a gold medal in a football tournament for elementary schools.

In 2017, Cham and some young players of Hanoi club took part in the Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden.

According to Cham, no matter what she did, life seemed to bring her back to football.

 

“Everything comes to me from my passion for football. So do professional competitions. From the time I started training at 15 years old and then I had personal titles and certain successes from the level club to the national team," Cham said.

"Until now, I still have this passion, enthusiasm and always think that by any means, I will teach my knowledge accumulated over the years to the next generations. After professional coaching for about two years, then working with community football, I decided to set up my own centre.”

Despite being long retired, many people still refer to the Hanoian footballer as the greatest Vietnamese women's striker ever.

This brings Cham happiness and also motivation for her to continue working to develop the next generation.

"Now many people still mention me as a football beauty. Parents also know my name and send their children to me. More importantly, I still live every day with football and pass my passion to children at the CFF centre,” Cham added.

Former top striker Ngoc Cham still living her passion
Cham looks happy with her kids at the CFF centre. Photo danviet.vn

Secret to longevity

At the age of 35, Cham still retains an athlete's physique, and during coronavirus-induced social distancing, she kept up a solid workout regimen and could plank for 7 minutes 10 seconds.

She accepted the challenge from a friend and said setting the time was a doddle.

“Perhaps, I performed this challenge well because of my work since I was a professional player. When I retired, I still went out to teach and train so my physical foundation remained. By the time I planked to seven minutes, I was satisfied with myself and moved to another challenge," Cham said.

“Such challenges during the period of social distancing helped people get rid of the boredom of living at home and have motivation and comfort.” 

The former player also expressed that one of the things she feared was losing her physique because it would greatly affect her current job.

"I can’t let my players see me with a fat body. So I still maintain the intensity of exercise with six days per week. Diet is also a way to preserve the body,” she said.

Having experienced several health issues, Cham is well aware of how important it is to stay healthy.

"I was operated on twice when I was a competitor and later gave birth to a baby, I am well aware that health is the most important thing," Cham said.

She also sent a message to the parents of CFF attendees to let their children have more time exercising and having fun with friends instead of using electronic devices.

"At present, computers take up a lot of time for children. I always tell parents not to focus on professional issues but to think that children can play and interact with friends,” Cham said.

"As I opened the CFF, I wanted it to be a step to search for talent. The talented children and families who are motivated to lead their children towards professional football will be introduced to professional teams like PVF, Viettel or Hanoi FC,” she added. VNS

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