Beckham Adds Star Power to Thai Football Clinic

Retired footballer David Beckham poses Saturday for a group photograph during a sponsored promotional event in Bangkok. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / Associated Press
Retired footballer David Beckham poses Saturday for a group photograph during a sponsored promotional event in Bangkok. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / Associated Press

BANGKOK — Former Manchester United and Real Madrid football star David Beckham made a brief appearance Saturday in Bangkok where he conducted drills and addressed a crowd of around 100 young football fans as part of a sponsored promotional event.

Beckham’s appearance was part of the “AIA Football Clinic for Youth with Leading Coaches” event that also featured coaches from English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspurs as well as Thai celebrities and football players.

“I’m very excited to be here with you all and to play a little bit of football,” Beckham said to a group of young kids who sat and listened to one of football’s biggest names on the astro-turf football pitch outside the SCG Muangthong Stadium in Bangkok where the event was conducted. “It’s great to be back in Bangkok. I’m excited and I’m hoping you are.”

For about five minutes, Beckham conducted passing and dribbling drills with a group of prospective young football players.

“I have seen the determination of these kids while playing football during the training session,” Beckham said in a statement. “They’re all here because they love the sport and have a tremendous passion for it.”

For most of the event, scores of young children ran around a seven-a-side pitch in an unorganized fashion. Passing footballs and playing among themselves, hoping to catch a glimpse or, better, take a pass from any celebrity present.

But some kids said they were too young to ever watch Beckham play and only knew of him through their parents.

“My dad introduced me to him (Beckham),” said nine-year old Pongpipat Tinthamwong. “When he told me about him, I started watching him on the internet.”

Story: Kaweewit Kaewjinda