Koh Phangan Football School for Kids

15 Jun 2014

Danne Alpha is the head coach for the new Phangan Football School.  
He is also a resident DJ for Jungle Experience and a proud father of three amazinly smart children.  

Originally from Sweden, he has been on the island now with his children for over two years.  

Alpha had been working as an international DJ since the late 80s till a few years ago he figures, "Koh Phangan looked like a nice place to go and spend time with my family".  

A couple of the reasons he began winding down his dj career are that he now has kids and that too much touring takes the spirit out of the music.  He hasn’t really pursued his dj ambitions here because he's been content with just being here. He did still keep one job though, his DJ residency at the Jungle Experience Festival...and he is proud to be a part of that organization.  

When his boy turned four they joined one of Stockholms biggest teams, Hammarby.  Alpha started to coach his sons team until they left, and ever since they moved to Thailand, his sons been on him that they must get back in training!  They had a session of practices when they first got here, but he had a business that took up all of his time so he wasn't able to keep it up.

Now that the business is past him, he came to realize that it was about time to pick up the football school again.  He says, "Frankly, there’s not many activities on this island for the kids, not really, and I hope that I can contribute to the community with something for them to do.  Football is such a great sport also, because you don’t need to spend a lot of money on gear. You just bring your shoes and then you’re good to go. Everybody knows how to play football and enjoy themselves. With a school we can build confidence in the kids and make them part of a team that is a good experience for their future life. I hope girls will join to, since football is not a boy sport what so ever. Everybody can learn to play football and enjoy some exercise with their friends."

"There’s so many things missing on this island for kids, even if it has schools, day-care, beautiful beaches, and jungles to explore. Traffic is also a killer on this island, so you don’t really let your kids ride the bike cycle themselves. One of my biggest wishes is that it was like a youth centre here for after school activates. Maybe with workshops, sports pitch for football, basketball, land hockey etc. And why not even a skate park?"

Funny thing is, he wasn't really a sporty person type before he got my kids.  It was then that he grew an interest in more traditional sports.  When he was young he never played team sports.  He just skateboarded, roller-skated, ride BMX and later MTX.  Now he's really into football, especially now since the world cup is going on.  Although, he explains, "it’s hard to try to see the games, work, take care of the kids all in the same time...and the matches are at such impossible hours."

And now, here are a few questions we had to ask Alpha about the Phangan Football School and what's available for children and parents living on the island...

What is your viewpoint on the notion that extra-curricular activities (primarily those that require team work) benefit children?  
Likewise, why is physical activity good for kids?

Since I almost never trained in a team when I was young, I had to learn team-work through other channels in life.  When looking back at it now I realize that kids who learn this at an early stage in their childhood can have benefits from this later in life. They learn to delegate and compromise, they become more flexible and are not likely to be stuck in suborn ways for to long a time. They have to adjust to keep the game in motion. I think this and that they learn how to respect each other and themselves are a positive effect of team sports.

I think physical activity is important for everybody. One thing that Thailand never understood is the importance of taking a stroll. Let’s face it, Thailand is not overcrowded with sidewalks, parks and public recreation areas. Everybody is using their motorbike and hardly move at all. Only in the few years I’ve been here I’ve seen a big change in the ambition to activate yourself, and there’s a big upswing for different exercising activities. You have the Boot-camp on Charm Beach Resort, the newly established Phangan Bicycle Tours and a few other initiative. This is something good. If you learn to exercise in early age you are more likely to pursue it during your whole life. Exercise is good for anybody and if you can have fun at the same time, it’s just a win-win situation.

Does the school have a particular approach to teaching (coaching) and learning (practicing)?
At Phangan Football School we do one hour and a half every Tuesday. In that time we spend about one third on physical exercise, one third on techniques, and one third on gameplay. The most important thing to learn in football is ball control. All the big European clubs are suggesting that in the early ages (4-10) the kids should have contact with the ball 1.000 times during a practice. This is how you build confidence with the ball. This is why all the kids have their own ball to practice with. During the physical and the technical training they do all the practices with their own ball. It’s just the last 20-30 minutes we actually ”play” football.

Will there be games (competitive/with audience) at some point throughout their training…or are these classes provided solely as an extraccuricular-activity?
I know the kids like to play against other teams and we really need to look in to this. I know a few tournaments in Bangkok we could go to, but we need to look closer first to find some opponents. I guess we could ask the different schools on the island, and maybe even the international schools on Koh Samui. But first we need to get the kids playing as a team and take it from there.

Do you find Koh Phangan to be a good place for people with children?
Koh Phangan is a great place for families and life is often easy.  I know the kids like it and they have developed some really close relations with their friends here. Sometimes I envy them and their uncomplicated lifestyle. I also think the lack of distractions on this island is good for them. I mean, you can’t just go in to a store to buy the latest Star Wars Lego just because you saw it on TV. We live a little bit outside the consumer society we all moved from here. This gives the kids more time to develop other things that are closer to how we supposed to live. My kids have a vast knowledge about the plants and the animals of this island, and even the world. I’m so impressed with them sometimes.