The Asian journey of Jason Thomas

Jason Thomas is currenty one of the most important players from Vanuatu. The 23-year-old defender has 16 caps for Vanuatu National Football Team and he has already played four editions of the OFC Champions League, the main football tournament among clubs in Oceania.

He was also part of the youth squad that made history by representing Vanuatu in the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup held in South Korea. Thomas was one of the most experient players in that squad, as he has already played in New Zealand and Cambodia before the World Cup.

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Thomas played in New Zealand in 2013. He spent the year studying at Nayland College while he was linked to Nelson Suburbs. However the most curious story about his career comes from his stint in Cambodia back in 2015.

He arrived in the Asian country in March 2015 to train in the Phnom Penh Crown FC Academy. Phnom Penh Crown is one of the biggest clubs in the country. They won the C-League – the national football league from Cambodia – for six times which makes them the most successful team in the competition’s history.

Jason Thomas arrived in Cambodia in March 2015. Source: Phnom Penh Crown FC Media

He spent seven months there and he had the opportunity to play lots of matches for the youth team including a friendly match against Cambodia U23 National Team and the 2015 Asia Champions Trophy, a youth tournament that counted on eight teams from Asia, including Japanese powerhouse Kashima Antlers.

Phnom Penh Crown was in the Group B alongside with Kashima Antlers (Japan), Frenz United FC (Malaysia) and PVF FA (Vietnam). Thomas performed in a very good level there, showing his quality on defense and scoring goals including a goal against Frenz United FC.

Jason Thomas (fourth from left to right) with his teammates. Source: Phnom Penh Crown FC Media

He left the Asian country in October after spending seven months there. He had the opportunity to stay with a professional club and feel the difference from professional to non-professional football – “Cambodian football is very fast. They have their own playing philosophy […] The game is so intense and fast. My teammates were very skillful,” said Thomas.

Jason made his debut for Vanuatu National Football Team a few weeks later in the 1-1 draw against Fiji. Since then he never played for a club outside Oceania. However he has always been involved with big clubs in the continent like Lautoka from Fiji and Hekari United from Papua New Guinea.

The Ni-Vanuatu player is one of the most talented players in Oceania when it comes to defense. His quality and skills could easily take him away from the OFC region at club level.


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