Siem Reap is best known for being home to the majestic Angkor Watt temples and a backpacking haven for young people from all over the globe looking to enjoy Pub Street. However, in recent years, the small temple town is emerging as a football powerhouse within Cambodia with many claiming it’s now the home of football in Cambodia.

SOLTILO Was Only The Beginnig…..

Back in 2015 Honda announced his vision for football and opened Soltilo Angkor, a club dedicated to developing youth. The previous month Siem Reap province had just won the ‘Cambodia Games’ and all those players were selected to be Soltilo Angkor. Two years later Angkor Tiger moved from Phnom Penh with a rebrand and a fierce rivalry was born. Although Soltilo were the birth Siem Reap biggest club is Tiger and they dominate on and off the field.

Football Roots Run Deeper Than SOLTILO & TIGER……..

Soltilo and Tiger may have been the birth of a professional rivalry but Siem Reap’s two other clubs, Next Step & Siem Reap FC, have been battling since the dark ages of football here in Cambodia. Both led by foreign founders the two teams have dominated Siem Reap football over the past decade. Next Step focused energies on developing youth and have won the provincial cup 3 of the last 4 seasons before turning pro. Siem Reap dominated tournament football, winning Tiger Street Football, Irina Super Leagues
and many more. Both teams have produced players that are now spread across the country playing pro.

The Siem Reap United Project……

In the background Siem Reap United are a new club with ambition and a project of youth development that is quite simply incredible. Alex Kutt & Dary Bouy are working with a young group of players that are by far the best of the young talent in Siem Reap.

Too many Clubs In Such A Small Place….

The growing concern will be that Siem Reap is too small for 4 clubs let alone another. It has led to much speculation about if any of them will look to move. Tiger announced a project to build a stadium, SR United have two stadiums, Soltilo are set to stay at Hanuman and Siem Reap FC are booked into Svay Thom. That leaves Next Step FC. Only time will tell where they will end up playing their football but you can be sure that their roots will always be firmly in Siem Reap. What cannot be denied is Siem Reap is producing top football talent, teams and too many has become the home of football in Cambodia.

This article is adapted from BPVE SPORT Cambodia, reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review.


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