Nguyễn Đình Triệu: from security guard to guarding the net

September 16, 2023 - 09:02
On September 11, he made his debut for the Vietnamese national team in an international friendly match against Palestine.
Goalkeeper Nguyễn Đình Triệu has been in impressive form of late for both Hải Phòng Club and the the Vietnamese national team. — Photo


HÀ NỘI — Goalkeeper Nguyễn Đình Triệu spent several years working as a security guard... now he is guarding the Vietnamese net for the national football team.

On September 11, he made his debut for the Vietnamese national team in an international friendly match against Palestine.

Prior to this, Triệu, who was also the goalkeeper for Hải Phòng Club, was involved in the preparations for two friendly matches against China's Hong Kong and Syria in June. However, coach Philippe Troussier did not utilise his services.

When presented with the opportunity to replace the injured goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm, Triệu performed admirably, making numerous outstanding saves. His contributions helped the Vietnamese team secure a clean sheet and a 2-0 victory.

At the age of 32, being called up to the Vietnamese national team was a dream come true for Triệu.

Compared to his peers, Triệu started his football journey relatively late, at the age of 17, but eventually quit. Just a few years ago, he was working as a security guard at an oil and gas company in Vũng Tàu.

Triệu was born in 1991 into a poor family in Thái Thụy District, Thái Bình Province. In 2008, Triệu and a group of friends participated in a trial for the Hà Nội T&T youth team (now Hà Nội FC).

After being selected, he made the decision to quit school in pursuit of his dream of becoming a professional player.

Under the guidance of coach Triệu Quang Hà, Triệu gradually overcame initial difficulties and demonstrated his abilities in the Hà Nội T&T youth team.

Two years later, he received a call-up to the U19 Việt Nam team to prepare for the final round of the 2010 AFC U19 Championship, alongside notable players of that time such as Nguyễn Văn Quyết, Nguyễn Hải Huy and Ngô Hoàng Thịnh.

Wearing the U19 team jersey should have been a stepping stone for Triệu's career progression, but he encountered obstacles along the way.

In 2014, he played for Thanh Niên Sài Gòn Club in the National Second Division Tournament and set a personal goal to continue competing if the team achieved promotion. However, when the team failed to secure promotion, he decided to abandon football in search of employment opportunities that would allow him to both work and study, thus providing stability in his life. He relocated to Vũng Tàu and secured a position as a security guard.

During that period, Triệu completed his high school programme and entered the HCM City University of Transport.

While attending university, he continued participating in amateur tournaments and later joined the national student championships. His talent caught the attention of many, who suggested he should make a comeback to professional football.

In 2019, coach Nguyễn Minh Phượng invited Triệu to join Bình Phước Club for the National First Division Tournament.

Impressed by his performances, and after his contract with Bình Phước expired in 2021, Triệu was recommended by coach Phan Bá Hùng to join Hải Phòng FC in the national premier league.

Nguyễn Đình Triệu has made great strides after returning to professional football. — Photo

In the 2022 season, he played in all 24 matches, contributing to Hải Phòng's second-place finish in the V.League 1. In the 2023 season, he continued to deliver consistent performances, leading to his call-up to the national team by coach Troussier.

Following his impressive display in the friendly match against Palestine, it is likely that Triệu will continue to be included in coach Troussier's squad for upcoming training sessions.

The French coach has expressed his intention to provide opportunities for new talents, including the goalkeeper position, in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in Asia, scheduled for November.

"I aim to utilise friendly matches as a testing ground and to provide opportunities for numerous players. Goalkeeper Lâm's absence also opens up chances for other goalkeepers to showcase their skills," Troussier said.