Having lived in many countries as CEO of an oil and gas company, I moved my young family to the paradise location of Koh Samui to give them the best start in life.
I was struck by how few places there were for local youngsters to exercise, have fun, and make friends, so – inspired by the Thais’ passion for my biggest love, football – I established Samui United Academy in 2010 to help talented footballing youngsters achieve their dreams.
Fulfilling my Lebanese football national grandfather’s dying pledges – to do good for the community and continue his footballing legacy – the Samui United Pro-Maker Academy followed, which now covers the training, education, food and kit of more than 80 Thai protégés striving for professional football success. The purchase of semi-professional League 3 Thai team, Nonthaburi United, provided further opportunities for our Academy stars. And in 2022, we officially partnered with French Ligue 1 giants, Paris Saint-Germain, to bring world-class youth training camps to an even wider audience.
To boost our Academy, Camps and Tournaments, and further support the sports and wellbeing needs of the local community, we then decided to extend our operations to a full-facility sports resort: with the structure to become a world-class hub for sporting events, international pre-season training camps, and luxury holidays for families wanting to enjoy and advance their passions for sports.
And so Maraleina Sports Resort was born; named after myself (Ma for Maher), my son (Ra for Rahoul), my daughter (Lei for Leila) and my wife (Na for Natasha): a luxury setting to support the FAN – Football for all Nations project, opening 2023.
The rest, as they say, is footballing history…
Maher Kassar, Founder of Maraleina Sports Resort