Denis Darbellay does not cultivate the American dream. His athletic hopes led him in the opposite direction. He took the option of exile in Thailand in order to realize his dream of professional football which had eluded him in Switzerland.
His training was shared between FC Monthey, the club of his debut, and FC Sion, an experience ended with the under 16s after a few games in the upper age group.
Ejected from the Sédunoise sector and back in his original club, he participated in the training sessions of the pennant team and he played with both in the second league.
Examples to follow on social networks
The discovery on social networks of the stories of Chitchanok Xaysensourinthone and Charyl Chappuis opened up new horizons for him. Former juniors of Yverdon and Grasshopper respectively, both play in the Thai League.
Chappuis, under-17 world champion with Switzerland in 2009, has even won the status of star element of the competition. His Instagram profile has more than 1.4 million subscribers.
Both players have dual nationality. Like the Valaisan. Their success in the Far East inspires the apprentice who obtains the CFC of laboratory assistant in chemistry.
A first commitment in the third division
He left Switzerland in autumn 2018. He is 20 years old and has a taste for a challenge. “I left without contact or commitment. I didn’t have an agent, I didn’t speak the language at all. It was a complete bet. I took a lot of doubts with me, ”testifies the daring.
Sayjai, his mother, accompanies him to his country of origin. They target on social networks invitations for tests launched by formations of lower divisions.
“A hundred players tried their luck each time, the vast majority of them locals.” A friend of his mother supports them as a guide and takes care of the logistics for the trips. He gets a contract in the third series.
The Covid as an accelerator
The reserve teams of major league clubs participate in the same championship. “It was my chance.” He lands a contract with the second garnish of FC Police Tero. The Covid ends the next exercise after two days.
Paradoxically, the interruption gives a boost to his Asian adventure. B teams are removed. “I then participated in some training with the front page who offered me a contract.” The lease binds the right side, a position where he is increasingly settling, at the Bangkok club until June 2024.
Upon his arrival at the stadium, Denis Darbellay wears the mask which the Thai authorities have lifted the obligation for two weeks. DR
Deprived of playing time during the first months, Montheysan came into play during the very last days of spring. “My goal is to impose myself in order to stay in Thailand. How about getting noticed for the national team? I will surely enlist the support of an agent this time.
He speaks the language and enjoys cooking
The preparation for the new season, which will kick off in mid-August, awaited him after a three-week stay in Valais during the summer break.
More and more at ease on the ground, “the climatic conditions make the practice of football very trying”, he has also made his mark in the teeming Thai capital. “My apartment is five minutes from our training center. The contrast with life in Monthey is immense.”
The agglomeration of his new place of residence has more than fifteen million inhabitants. “The food also took me some time to adapt. The kitchen is so much spicier. At first, I almost only ate pasta. I speak and I understand the language by dint of hearing it.
An average salary of 1500 francs
Driving remains one of the areas in which he has not yet embarked. “The beginnings are close even if the taxis are numerous and cheap. They allow you to go where you want.
He estimates the average salary of a player in the league at 1,500 francs, ie emoluments more than twice the median income of the country. “We live very well”.
The younger brother tries the adventure
David, his younger brother, joined him in Thailand to try his luck as well. Sayjai is also on the trip. “The goal is to establish both of us here. Patrick, our dad, and mom will be going back and forth.”
Their path could have crossed that of a former FC Sion player. “Sébastien Wüthrich played half the season in Thailand in 2021. I haven’t seen him again in the contingents this year.”
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