Sports

Striker Chuyên to make Asian debut milestone

Việt Nam’s Best Young Female Footballer of 2023 loves to score and wants to make her name in Asia as she has in Southeast Asian competitions.

Football

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Ngọc Minh Chuyên will hunt goals at the AFC Women’s U20 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan in March. Photo courtesy of VFF

Thanh Hà

It will be her first continental tournament and the first time she will face such strong rivals. But Ngọc Minh Chuyên is eager to bring the best results for Việt Nam at the 2024 AFC Women’s U20 Asian Cup.

Việt Nam’s Best Young Female Footballer of 2023 loves to score and wants to make her name in Asia as she has in Southeast Asian competitions.

“Taking the Golden Ball award makes me honoured and proud. It is a strong push for me in my career. I am excited to begin the 2024 season at the Asian Cup,” Chuyên told Việt Nam News.

Football girl

Born in 2004 in Tuyên Quang Province, Chuyên showed her love and talent with the ball as a little girl, spending her leisure time playing football and watching the English Premier League.

“I was never bored playing with the ball. I was the only girl in the team and I scored uncountable goals,” she said.

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Ngọc Minh Chuyên runs the ball away from a Malaysian player during their AFF U19 Championship in 2023. Chuyên was the top scorer of the tournament with five goals. Photo courtesy of VFF

The 15-year-old was introduced to professional training in 2019 at Thái Nguyên T&T FC and quickly earned her a place in the starting 11 of both her club and national junior sides.

“She was one surprise after another. She was a player with an iron will, whether playing or training, she always did her best,” coach Đoàn Việt Triều said. “Although her shape is not ideal, her tenacity, speed, and skilful technique meant Chuyên assisted her teammates and made accurate shots.”

Chuyên was also lucky to have strong support from her family, who watched her in person whenever she had a game.

“My parents also love football. Both always encourage me, accompany and push me to overcome difficulties. They are my top fans in all my games,” she said.

The star was also the pride of her village. And the villagers held a party to celebrate the day Chuyên was called to the national U18 team. They hired coaches to travel to the neighbouring province of Phú Thọ Province to watch Chuyên with the team at the Southeast Asian Football Federation (AFF) Championship qualifier in 2022.

“It was a big crowd. I heard my name called from the stands. They made me both shy and happy to have the support and encouragement of family and neighbours. That also became my pride and the motivation to be more determined in my career,” she said.

At that event, Chuyên scored six goals and became the top scorer, and Việt Nam, which finished second, scored the most in the tournament, netting 23 goals.

A year later, Chuyên continued shining at the AFF U19 Championship, scoring five goals to be the top scorer again and took the silver medal with Việt Nam.

In 2023, Chuyên scored three goals for Việt Nam in the U20 Asian Cup qualifiers, helping Việt Nam earn a place in the finals in Uzbekistan.

Big dream

Her performance lured national head coach Mai Đức Chung’s attention. She was called to the senior team to prepare for the 2024 Olympics’ second qualification. Although the team failed to advance to the next round, the days with senior teammates opened her mind and strengthened her determination with football.

“I was surprised to receive Chung’s call. He gave me a great opportunity to practise with the senior team and more experienced players,” Chuyên said.

“There was a big difference between the U18/U20 and national team environment. At the national team, good technique and a tactical mind are musts. I forced myself to adapt as fast as possible to play well and support the team.”

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Ngọc Minh Chuyên tries to take the ball during a friendly match between Việt Nam and Uzbekistan on February 24. Photo courtesy of VFF

Chuyên said the national team was her big dream, where she could play with her idols and contribute more to Việt Nam’s football.

“Huỳnh Như is the best striker. She is serious and makes great effort in training and competing. She is the first female player to play abroad and the best player of Việt Nam. Thanh Nhã has good speed and her long-distance finishing is just so impressive. They are two players that I love the most and I hope to reach their level soon,” said Chuyên.

“Being in a tough group will give us a chance to learn from bigger teams. As a striker, I want to score against every team at the finals.”

Chuyên and her teammates are in Uzbekistan and will play major powerhouses in the group round.

Japan won the U19 Championship six times. North Korea were the 2006 champions, and China won in 2007, while Việt Nam have never been in the top four.

“It is my first time to compete so far from home and at a freezing venue. My teammates and I can’t wait to play in the snow. We will try our best at the event. I believe we will show off many things from Việt Nam to Asia,” Chuyên said.

Theo Vietnamnews