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Harvard team to advise Vietnamese schools on sport programs

The task of organizing sporting events for schools in Vietnam should combine both sports and recreation to attract more people, according to a team of six Harvard students currently visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

Student sports tournaments should be a place where students can bring their families and friends to experience a sporty atmosphere on the field, instead of watching television, said Alan Maccormack – a professor at Harvard University.

At the invitation of the Saigon Sports Academy (SSA) company -- a unique multi-sport training school currently teaching tennis, soccer, basketball, swimming and chess in the city, the Harvard team visited on a fact-finding trip concerning sports at schools in Vietnam and give advice on developing athletics.

Vietnamese students love sports, according to the team, whose advice and ideas will be studied and then applied to the organization of the upcoming Vietnam Students Sports Tournament, slated to be held from March-May, 2013 by the SSA.

“We will try to provide advice on adding more recreation into the tournaments and improving the management skills of organizers,” he said. “The challenge is that we can’t bring the US model into Vietnam.”

SSA director Connor Nguyen admitted, “I watched a football game at Harvard University. The school has 20,000 students but their 60,000-seat stadium had no vacant seats.”

With a mission to bring an international standard of sports coaching and training for Vietnam, SSA aims to organize sports leagues, tournaments and community events for both expats and locals in Vietnam.