Panyee FC, How A Small Village On The Lake Built Their Own Football Court

by Lee Wang

A story about some inspirational young boys has popped up on YouTube. These young boys, who lived on a floating island, have become an inspiration to many new generations of young kids who have been following their lead.

It all started on the floating island of Koh Panyee- a small town found south of Thailand. This island, with no soil to speak of, is small and crowded. There wasn’t much space for kids to run and play. In fact, most of the activities revolved around the water, such as boat racing and fishing. So the young boys decided to make their own “field” to play on, to the laughter and ridicule of the adults.

The newly formed team set out to collect as much old wood as they could from around the island. Once they had enough, they began to tie the wood to old fishing rafts. After many weeks of hard work and sweat, their efforts paid off. The football team now had a place to practice- a literal floating football field.

It wasn’t easy for the team at first. They had to get used to a wet, slippery surface that was still rough. They even had to watch out for the nails that weren’t all pounded incorrectly. The ball would often slide off of the wet surface, and many times the children themselves would fall off. However, they worked long and hard to get better at the game.

One day, one of the children ran to the others with a flyer he found at the mainland. It was for a one-day tournament to win the Pangha Cup. The boys weren’t sure what they should do- were they even good enough to enter? They decided that yes, they were going to try. They were even more shocked to see that the villagers had all pitched in to buy them matching gear. Wearing their brand new clothes and boots, the team set off to the mainland to play.

The boys were quite nervous to play against teams who had been practicing on real soil. But as they begin to play against their rival they realized that all of their practice had paid off. The bigger goals were much easier to hit than the smaller ones they were so used to. They were so good that they made it to the semi-finals.

However, the semi-finals didn’t start out as well as they had hoped. The rain came pouring down from the skies, and everyone got soaked and muddy as they ran back and forth across the field. Their boots filled with water as well. By the first half, the boys were losing and feeling defeated.

Together, they formed an idea. They weren’t used to wearing boots on the field, but they were used to playing in wet conditions! Leaving their boots behind, the boys stormed the field for the second half. They were much better without the bulk of their boots and soon tied the score. However, a last-minute goal from the other team caused them to lose. While they were disappointed in the loss, the boys were still happy to have made it that far.

Today, football is Panyee’s favorite pastime. The boys were able to build a smooth field to play on, and their club is now registered as one of the best football clubs in Southern Thailand.

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