One year ago today Next Step Football Club (NSFC) founder Charlie Pomroy took to social media at appeal to football fans throughout the country that the club needed $1500 in order to complete their last League Cup fixture vs Prey Veng. If they didn’t get the money then they would have faced expulsion from football in Cambodia. Football fans duly pulled together and helped the struggling club raise the money and complete the fixture, a game they went on to lose 0-17. To say things were not going well would have been quite the understatement.
Fast forward one year and Pomroy is once again taking to social media but this time for something rather different.
“The club is delighted to announce that our very own stadium project has been given the green light to move into the next phase and we hope to break ground before the end of the year”
The NSFC Eco-Stadium
Next Step had become a bit of a punchline at times with their unique, and somewhat naive approach to operating a football club. The results on field had also led many to question the clubs ability and the vision of Pomroy himself. The new eco-stadium project is different though with the idea that the stadium is built completely, eco friendly, while also being club license compliant with Pomroy adding;
‘We’re clearly not a club with millions in the bank to spend but we’re a club that wants to attain the club license and continue to help Cambodian football grow. This means we have to be creative in our thinking. I spoke with the project manager Aethlestan about an NGO that used recycled plastic bricks to build houses and the idea grew from there. The architects were genius in their approach and bought the bundle of ideas to a reality”
The NSFC Sponsors
Next Step recently signed a new partnership with WeWatch and it was leaked last month they are set to sign Wonderpass as well. Other signed up sponsors include sports apparel company Desportol, BPVE as official media partner, as well adventure travel company Young Pioneer Tours.
On October 31st 2022 when the previous season finished, no one would have imagined the position NSFC now find themselves in. although there are now issues related to the league itself.
Club Licensing and CPL 2
The second division has so far seen six clubs reportedly ready to dissolve this summer due to the financial commitments related to the club license system, However Pomroy remains confident that not everything in football needs to cost millions of dollars;
“I have had club license application packets on my desk for nearly a decade. We always talked about NS or Forza becoming a pro club one day and I knew this is the standard we would need to get to. It’s why Next Step has operated against fashion and taken longer than most to be organized. Putting a team onto a field to play football is easy, surrounding them with an environment that is both sustainable and top quality is not. Especially when you have no money to do it. Everything we do is built around the core principles of the club that are to develop the person before the player and help our community before ourselves. It means everything we do has to be developed with care and creativity”.
To read about Koh Kong dropping from the division click here
With CPL losing clubs almost every week and the doubts cast over the lower levels of football in Cambodia, there will be many questions on how can a project like this actually become a reality. That coupled with Next Step FC being so young and their recent history of financial problems the development of this project seems impossible. However Pomroy, defiant as ever ans said;
“If I was in charge of the project then I would agree. Thankfully I’m not. Everything NS was tarnished from last season and it’s hard to fight off that reputation. What I’ve had to do is look hard in the mirror and decide what I can offer and what I need to delegate. The commercial and business sides of the club I’ve brought in amazing people to develop and there are a million people in this world far more capable and able to build this stadium. We have a great project manager in Aethlestan. Anyone looking at our football club can be assured that whilst I am still the figurehead of the club, I belong on the grass with the players and to get the very best version of me I need to be coaching. That’s where I’ll be this season and for the foreseeable future”
Hopefully the CPL can be equally forward thinking and open minded when it comes to helping the clubs lower down the pyramid, something drastically needed if grassroots football is going to continue to thrive within the Kingdom.
This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
Advertisement Requests Advertisement department: email@example.com
Follow BPVE SPORT
BPVE News | BPVE.COM (@bpvenews) / Twitter
📢 🎯🦅The future of news is here! BPVE News is your trusted source for the latest updates on sports, music, upcoming #Web3, https://t.co/tvh4cmdZDV, and digital assets.