ISF's Annual Girls' Football Tournament
Updated: Mar 24
ISF’s Annual Girls’ Tournament welcomed 420 female athletes from across the country for an enthralling day of play.
Excitement permeated the air as 420 female athletes from across the country gathered at ISF Sports Ground on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Teams sat in the grass under the shade of umbrellas or stood in a circle, chatting while dynamically stretching. Invited to ISF’s 12th Annual Girls’ Tournament, 35 teams across three divisions: U10, U14, and U18 had travelled upwards of eight hours each way to participate in Saturday’s nationwide football competition.
ISF Ambassador Sopheak Chourp and Bayon TV Present Heng Keo Nita hosted the event’s opening ceremony. The two welcomed Erik Lorenz, ISF Trustee and Football Committee Member, and Thyda Puth, President of Boeung Ket Football Club and Vice Chairman of Women’s Football Organising Committee.
Both delivered opening remarks before the 15-minute matches kicked off with Puth adding: “2022 ISF Girls’ Tournament provides opportunities for girls to experience joy and learn new skills through football. I would like to encourage you to play fairly, to respect each other, and to always remember that football is not all about winning - it’s about having fun, becoming healthy, and making friends!”
Since its foundation in 2006, ISF has been a pioneer for gender equality and female inclusion in sports. In Cambodia, sporting opportunities are rare. Coupled with stereotypes and socio-economic barriers, youth marginalised by poverty and gender face extreme obstacles to participating in organised sports. Committed to fostering equity and inclusion, ISF was thrilled to welcome female athletes representing eight of Cambodia’s provinces to this year’s Annual Girls’ Tournament.
ISF Country Manager Vicheka Chourp explains: “This is Cambodia’s largest organised tournament for female players. Women across the country have built a community through sport and are proud to show their strength and achievements. At ISF, we will continue the tradition of empowering young women to challenge gender stereotypes and become leaders in their community.”
Echoing Chourp’s sentiment, 14-year old Thyda* from U14 Girls’ team Tiger Red expresses what inclusive sporting opportunities mean to her: “I've been playing football for a year now. I'll never quit because football makes me physically and mentally healthy and helps me to become more productive in my everyday life. Events like ISF’s Girls' Tournament helps young people like me discover strengths and talents.”
Each athlete’s passion for football was evident, and after a heartfelt day of play, U10 team Somrong Primary School from Kampong Thom Province, U14 Athireach KompulMeas from Kampot Province, and U18 Kompong Spue Football Community from Kampong Speu Province championed their division. At the end of the event, Erik Lorenz joined ISF Founder Peter Slater in handing out medals to all of the participating athletes and trophies to the three champion teams.