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August 12, 2021

Age: 19
Favorite sport: Football
Favorite sport to watch: UEFA EURO Cup
Friends describe her as: Friendly, motivated and helpful

Nuth grew up in a rural area of Cambodia near Siem Reap with a deep love of sports and education. She was the first in her family to finish 12 years of schooling and though many in her community view football as ‘unfit and dangerous’ for girls, at 13 she started training with ISF Cambodia’s football programme. She soon realized that she wanted to become a coach and use football to challenge gender stereotypes and support youth in her community.

Now, as an assistant coach with ISF’s Football for Good project, she mentors more than 20 girls aged 13 to 14, teaching life skills and how to avoid social issues like alcoholism, gambling addiction and domestic violence that are negatively impacting her community. She is currently working towards becoming a junior coach.

1. What does it mean to you to be selected for the inaugural class of the Beyond Sport Youth Advisory Board (BSYAB)?

It is my honour and my pleasure to be selected. It will allow me to continue to promote and support young people or young adults and show them that sport for social change is necessary, not only in their communities, but also around the world. My favorite phrase on this is "young people are the heart of developing our communities’.

2. Over the two years, what is the primary thing you are most looking forward to getting out of the experience? What do you want to learn and teach?

I'm most looking forward to learning new things with the other BSYAB members and making new friends with people all over the world. I’m also going to share the lessons that I have learned from coaching young people and from ISF’s football programme.

3. Beyond Sport believes that sport for social change is more than just bringing people together to bond and bridge divides through play, it’s about using it as a platform of learning and development. When used purposefully, and with intention, it can be a powerful pathway to effective solutions to the most complex social issue of our time.

What does using “sport with intention” mean to you?

Going beyond just the fun to give opportunities to young people and create solutions to social issues.

4. Who do you think is getting it right in the world of social change and why?

UNICEF is making real social change in the world – promoting the healthy development of children and helping them defend their rights and fulfil their potential.

My organisation, the Indochina Starfish foundation (ISF), is also working on social impact issues. We use football games to address things such as child rights, social distance and substance abuse.

5. What inspired you to move from playing football to becoming a coach?

My teachers, family and ISF staff. I was very excited to join the soccer team, but soon felt like I was nowhere near as talented as my teammates. My coach noticed and pulled me aside to inspire me to change my attitude. They kindly offered suggestions on the areas where I had trouble so that I could improve from day to day. Every few weeks they checked in on how I was feeling and provided feedback on my progress. By taking the time to coach me on an individual basis, I felt they always cared about me and saw my value as a team member.

At the end of the season, I had gained confidence that extended on and off the field. I wanted to have the same impact on my own players, letting them know that I care about their well-being and want to see them grow as athletes and individuals.

6. As you progress in life and your career, what legacy you hope to leave on your peers, family and community?

I hope to see young people being able to change their lives and be the person they want to become in the community. I also hope to see more young girls playing football, building good relationships with each other and working together.

Meet all eight of the inaugural Beyond Sport Youth Advisory Board members