Sports clubs for women have enjoyed an upsurge over the last few years, and in this month’s column we look at some of these different clubs and teams at both ends of the country.
Chelsea Girls in Hanoi
With a team dubbed Chelsea Girls in Hanoi, there’s no guessing which EPL club these women support. The club has around 30 members, all of whom are Vietnamese women from various cities. They often practice on Sunday evenings. The club also travels to other cities such as Hai Phong, Nghe An, Phu Tho to play some friendly matches.
“We just love the way we gather around and play with the ball, how we love each other like a second family, how we go everywhere together,” says club member Thanh Xuan. “We are one of the biggest fan club networks (for Chelsea FC) in Vietnam.
Visit their Facebook page, Doi Bong Nu CFC Ha Noi, for more information
The Thang Long (Flying Dragons) Basketball Club has roughly 20 members, with Vietnamese players born in different regions like Hanoi, Hai Duong, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, and Hung Yen. They meet twice a week to practice and play, and there are occasional streetball matches, too.
“I think the primary enjoyment is being together,” says club member Vu Thanh Vu. “Simply, it’s just our passion to play.”
The Vietcelts play Gaelic football in Hanoi, with 10 to 15 players from around the world including the USA, Australia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Vietnam, and elsewhere. They train every Thursday from 7pm to 8.30 pm at the Red River Pitch, at the end of alley 274 Au Co in Tay Ho.
They also train together with the Vietnam Swans Australian Rules Football club on Saturday afternoons. The team contributes to the community in Vietnam by promoting the sport among youth groups.
For info click on thevietcelts.wordpress.com
While many sports aficionados in Ho Chi Minh City know of the Saigon Geckos, not everyone is aware there are men’s and women’s clubs under one umbrella. The women’s club isn’t yet a year old, so there are only roughly 15 members at present. Currently there is a large number of Canadians, a few Americans and French, a South African, a New Zealander, a Filipina, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese players.
The club has contact training once a week, twice if there’s a game coming up. It has played in three notable tournaments already, and at least five tournaments are planned for next autumn and spring.
“Our favourite part of rugby is the social atmosphere that comes with the sport,” says club member Heather Turkle. “Rugby is an inclusive sport with a position for every body type, and attracts people from different backgrounds.
“It’s especially fun for women because most haven’t played it before as it’s not popular in a lot of countries. So we’re continuously learning together.”
For more information, click on facebook.com/saigonrugbyclub/
The Hanoi Ois Netball Club
The club has around 60 people playing every week, both men and women. Although in many countries netball is a women’s only sport, in Australia and New Zealand it’s mixed gender, so they play with a 60/40 female-to-male membership ratio. While most players come from Commonwealth countries where the game has a broader base, such as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, there are other nationalities as well. The club is also looking to grow its Vietnamese membership.
Matches are every Monday in a series of leagues running from September to May or June. They play at the Central Vietnam Games, organize games and tournaments against the Saigon Shooters, and try to get to other Southeast Asian countries to play.
The Saigon Shooters Netball Club
The club consists of a mixed league that plays scheduled matches every Monday during two seasons from February to June, and September to December. There are 10 teams, with approximately 80 players. Of these, around 60 per cent are women. Nationalities include UK, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, France, the US, Canada, Ireland and South Africa. During the season, weekly games are held every Monday night in District 2.
“The league is a great way to meet new people, and learn a new sport,” says Shooters member Mairead Scanlon. “The league is split into two divisions, with the more experienced players in the higher league, and players that are newer to the sport in the lower league.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/groups/saigonshootersnetball/