Yeshi Wangda

“From a young age, I enjoyed playing football. I’d coach kids in my community and seeing this, my family was always supportive. In school, futsal was part of the routine. Once we formed a team and I was the coordinator. To keep playing, we needed money. Reaching out to our teachers and friends for support, we could sail through smoothly. The first match we won was the Nazhoen cup where we bagged a couple of awards. Working hard, I played for my first club at 15. There, a coach offered to make me an assistant coach. I was surprised at first but I learned a lot from him.

After a few years, I was offered to go to India as a coach. Funding the trip seemed difficult in the beginning, but thankfully we found someone who paid for everything. On my return, I got my coaching licence with words put in by my BFF’s coaches. Still in school, I was worried. However, the Principal and my friends were supportive. Soon, I was given a youth team to coach. When they made it into the top 2, the head coach promoted me to a senior assistant. I was always reminded that in football, age is never a factor, and humility and punctuality get you to places.

In 2019, I got another offer from India as a head international coach in a tournament. When my team lost in the semi-finals, we were sad but everyone appreciated our performance. Finally, when I decided to take a break, a parent offered to help start an academy so I could coach their kids and a friend helped purchase all the resources. ‘Junior Football Academy’ was started with 8 kids and the numbers kept growing. Currently, we are playing in the highest league for children in Bhutan.

At 22, I became the first Bhutanese to sign for an international football academy in India whose headquarters is in Argentina and one of the youngest coaches ever in the world signed to international football. In a small country like Bhutan, we should all work towards bringing the passion for football to our communities and not depend on the BFF alone. I believe in my work, and so do all my coaches and mentors. My family says that we could earn even from our passion. In my heart, I thank everyone who stuck with me throughout my journey.”

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