Recently crowned Hong Kong Premier League champions Eastern have reclaimed their place among Hong Kong’s elite in recent years and are currently enjoying their best period since the mid-90s under the guidance of female coach Chan Yuen Ting.
After winning the Hong Kong FA Cup in 2014, the club went on to claim the runners-up spot in the Hong Kong Premier League the following year and continued their upward surge in 2016 by claiming the title.
Chan, 27, has gained all the plaudits as she inspired her side during the recent campaign to see off the challenge of Kitchee and South China in the Hong Kong Premier League after the heavyweights had claimed nine successive titles between them after Eastern were only promoted to the Hong Kong Premier League in 2013.
Eastern’s strongest period came in the mid-90s when they won three successive top-flight titles between 1993 and 1995.
For the second successive year, HKFA U-23 will be the Hong Kong Football Association’s sole representative at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
The national age-group side made their debut at the annual seven-a-side competition in 2012 before reaching the Plate semi-final a year later and the Cup quarter-final in 2014.
After the U-20 and U-18 sides represented the governing body in 2015, the U-23 team returned last year and put on a superb display.
Following draws in all three of their group matches – with Leicester City, West Ham United and Singapore Cricket Club – HKFA U-21 went on to defeat Yau Yee League Select 1-0 in the last eight of the Plate and then Kitchee by the same scoreline in the semi-finals.
And despite a 2-0 reversal to Stoke City in the final, the tournament can be considered HKFA U-23’s best yet having played out two wins, three draws and just a solitary defeat in six games at Hong Kong Football Club.
In 2014, the team impressed by beating defending champions Leicester 1-0 on route to qualifying for the Cup quarter-final for the first and, to date, only time, before a 2-1 loss after extra time to fellow Hong Kong side Kitchee.
Other highlights at the tournament include their first ever win – as the Hong Kong Dragons – when they defeated hosts Hong Kong Football Club in the 2013 group stage.
And after last year’s strong showing, HKFA U-23 will return to Happy Valley confident of enhancing their reputation at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
FC Seoul became the first ever South Korean team to appear at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens last year and they put in a highly impressive performance by reaching the semi-finals before a narrow 1-0 defeat to eventual runners-up West Ham United.
The side from the South Korean capital had previously defeated Thai Youth Football Home, Kashima Antlers and HKFC Captain’s Select to finish on top of Group C before overcoming Newcastle United 4-2 in the quarter-finals.
FC Seoul enjoyed an incredible 2016 when they won the K-League Classic for the sixth time after leapfrogging nearest rivals Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on the final day of the season following a dramatic 1-0 victory.
The side also claimed the FA Cup and reached the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League to continue a strong record on the continent that has also seen them finish runner-up on two occasions.
Among the notable players who have come through FC Seoul’s youth ranks are Swansea City’s Ki Sung-yueng and Crystal Palace’s Lee Chung-yong. Both Ki and Lee are currently leading South Korea’s charge towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia having also appeared at the 2010 and 2014 editions.
Veteran club captain Kwak Tae-hwi, meanwhile, also represents the national team while former Monaco and Arsenal forward Park Chu-young, who began his career at FC Seoul before returning in 2015, is among their other modern-day stars.
Making their debut at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, Thai Youth Home Football are a Phuket-based charity that cares for, educates and provides professional football coaching for orphans and underprivileged children from across Thailand.
The home was founded a decade ago by former Hong Kong Football Club member Henrik Lorenz, who passed away 10 years ago, and accommodates 32 boys and 32 girls.
Strong emphasis is placed on football schooling with a number of former players, such as Germany’s 1990 FIFA World Cup-winner Uwe Bein and former Republic of Ireland international Liam Brady, playing an active role in the children’s development.
Youth Football Home will bring a squad mainly featuring players who have graduated through the orphanage and now represent Thai Premier League side Chonburi as well as regional sides Phuket FC and Ranong.
Yau Yee League Masters return for a second straight year after a run that took them to the Cup semi-finals last time around. A second-place finish in their group behind Wallsend Boys Club, following wins over playonPROS and HKFC Chairman’s select and a draw with KCC Veterans, took the Yau Yee League Masters into the semi-finals, where they were eliminated by eventual champions Citi All Stars.
The run to the last four followed on from their success in the final of the Plate competition 12 months earlier, when they defeated KCC Veterans after another strong campaign, which saw them hand Citi All Stars their only defeat of the competition when the teams met in the group phase.
A third place finish in the group set up the meeting with KCC Veterans in the Plate final and, after a goalless encounter, Yau Yee League Masters won the competition in a penalty shootout. The Yau Yee League is Hong Kong’s top amateur league and their representative team in the Masters tournament features many of the best senior players from the competition.
Before last year, previous best performances had come in 2009 and 2010, when Yau Yee League Masters reached back-to-back plate finals.
After a one-year hiatus, the Ajax All Stars return to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens with the aim of winning a third Masters title.
The famed Dutch side defeated Eastern Salon Top Class 6-1 in the 2012 final to claim their first Masters victory before beating USRC – BTS 1-0 after extra-time to win a second title in 2014.
Sandwiched in between their two victorious campaigns was a 2-0 final loss to Rangers All Stars, meaning Ajax are now seeking four successive finals at Hong Kong Football Club.
Founded in 1900, Ajax are one of the most decorated clubs in world football with the late Johan Cruyff, Rudi Krol and Johan Neeskens having all helped the Dutch side win a hat-trick of European Cups between 1971 and 1973.
More recently, household names such as Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Marc Overmars and Jari Litmanen were part of the star-studded line-up that defeated AC Milan to lift the UEFA Champions League in 1995.
And Litmanen, who won 137 caps for his native Finland, is one of several renowned players to have appeared at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens for Ajax.
Former Dutch international Aron Winter and Dane Kenneth Perez, who scored four goals in the 6-1 final win over Top Class in 2012, have also represented the Amsterdam club.
Returning to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens is Wallsend Boys Club, a club that boasts a proud history as one of the most renowned footballing institutions in England. The likes of Alan Shearer, Michael Carrick and Steve Bruce spent their early playing days at the North Tyneside club, while former Premier League stars Michael Bridges, Alan Thompson and Robbie Elliot have all represented their former team at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
One of the side’s most famed graduates, Peter Beardsley, who represented England at the 1990 World Cup and boasts legendary status at both Liverpool and Newcastle United, also turned out for Wallsend in 2014 and 2015. A quarter final appearance on their debut was followed by a runner-up finish a year later. In 2016, the team advanced to the semi-finals but were eliminated by USRC. They made further progress in 2017, this time winning their group before seeing off HKFC Masters in the semi-finals to set up a meeting with Citi All Stars in the final. But Wallsend’s wait for that title continued after an agonizing 3-2 defeat.
The hunt for that elusive trophy ended in 2019, with the Club managing to win the tournament for the first time. The 2023 tournament will see Wallsend doing their best to retain their title!
Local amateur side USRC have appeared in the last three finals at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Masters event but, after defeating Wallsend Boys Club in the 2015 final, were unable to claim back-to-back titles as Citi All Stars ran out 3-1 victors in last year’s showpiece event.
Nonetheless, the Kowloon side put in another strong showing in 2016 when they topped Group A ahead of HKFC Chairman’s Select, KCC Veterans, Ajax All Stars and Discovery Bay. An impressive 2-1 victory over Ajax to seal top spot in the table and eliminate the Dutch team was among the highlights.
USRC then saw off tournament regulars Wallsend Boys Club 2-0 in the last four, but ultimately fell just short by suffering a 3-1 reversal to Citi All Stars in the final.
A year earlier, Brazilian duo Daniel Lins Cortes and Paulo Enrique each scored as USRC claimed the Masters title following a 2-1 final victory over a Wallsend side that featured former Leeds United striker Michael Bridges and ex-Newcastle United defender Robbie Elliott. They also reached the final in 2014, but lost out 1-0 to Ajax.
USRC won Hong Kong’s top amateur league, Division One of the Yau Yee League, in 2008, 2009 and 2014. They will return to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens as one of the favourites to lift a second Masters crown.
Established 1852, the Singapore Cricket Club is one of the premier sports clubs in Singapore. SCC is represented by two teams in the HKFC Soccer Sevens 2023, SCC Singapore Football League (SFL) team for the main tournament and SCC Masters team in the masters tournament. SCC has been in this tournament for over 5 years.
The SCC Masters team, which competes in several domestic football leagues, comprised ex-professional footballers and players who were formerly from the SCC SFL team.
Tournament regulars KCC Veterans return to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens once more, since the last edition of the competition in 2019. They have a long-established history in the event and this year have signed-up the Leicester City Premier League Winning Defender, Danny Simpson, who joins KCC for the 2023 edition. Danny follows a long list of former players including Chelsea, West Ham and England International Carton Cole, Liverpool and England International legend John Barnes, ex-Scotland International and Everton forward Pat Nevin and former Northern Ireland International and Wimbledon striker Lawrie Sanchez, all who have represented the Club. The KCC Veterans reached the final of the Plate competition in both 2015 and 2016, losing to HKFC Chairman’s Select and Discovery Bay in respective years. KCC have also previously won the second-tier competition in 2009, by defeating Yau Yee League Masters 2-0 in the final. Their best-ever performances were in 2008 and 2011 when they advanced beyond the group stage to make the Cup quarter-finals. This year the team will be coached by the Hong Kong National Team Asst. Coach, Wolfgang Lussier and KCC are excited to be involved again in Hong Kong’s best Football 7’s Tournament.
The HKFC Masters team is honoured to be one of the two teams representing the Hong Kong Football Club in the upcoming annual seven-a-side event. Following a four-year break, the team has been working tirelessly to prepare for the tournament and is excited to represent the club once again. Although the results didn’t go their way in 2019, the players are optimistic that this year’s competition will be both enjoyable and successful.
The HKFC Chairman’s Select team regularly participates in the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens tournament. After a disappointing performance in the 2019 event, the team is determined to bounce back and make a strong showing this year. With their sights set on being competitive, the Chairman’s Select team has been working hard to improve their game and is eager to take the field. Along with the other HKFC team, the Chairman’s Select team hopes to represent the club and play some high-quality football proudly.
The lads from Discovery Bay (DB) return to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens for the tenth time and this year as Ampcontrol Discovery Bay, having secured a new main sponsor that specializes in high voltage electrical engineering services and following their notable performances in 2017 and 2019 (reaching the plate final) and especially in 2018 (cup winners) the team will be fully charged for an electrifying display in this year’s tournament.
Ampcontrol Discovery Bay consist of local amateur and professional players from Discovery Bay Football Club (DBFC) and the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) league teams, having separated from the previous years of partnership with the boys from Brazil, who this year field their own team in the tournament. Discovery Bay teams from the past have included some star attractions such as former England Internationals Peter Beardsley, Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton.
Ampcontrol Discovery Bay will be coached again by former Hong Kong star forward and Discovery Bay resident Tim Bredbury and big support will come from the teams main and secondary sponsors’ representatives, who are all Discovery Bay residents.
The PFA are delighted to be providing the Citibank Allstars for the Hong Kong Soccer 7s once again.
This partnership has been going for 21 years with many former Professional players from all divisions in the English leagues taking part.
Wellington Phoenix are making their fourth successive appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens after becoming New Zealand’s first-ever representatives in 2015.
Wellington, the only club from New Zealand to compete in Australia’s A-League, reached the semi-finals on their debut at Hong Kong Football Club before losing 1-0 to eventual winners Atletico Madrid. And the New Zealanders again made the last four three years ago when, after topping a group comprising Eastern, Stoke City and Yau Yee League Select, they defeated Leicester City 2-1 in the last eight. Once more, Wellington would lose to the eventual champions in the last four, this time when Aston Villa ran out 2-0 victors.
The 2017 edition saw Wellington reach the final of the Plate competition, where they lost 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen. Domestically, Wellington have participated in the Australian league since being founded in 2007 and have reached the end-of-season Grand Final series on four occasions, achieving a best ever third-place finish in 2010.
Striker Hamish Watson was among the stars of Wellington’s 2016 HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens tournament and the New Zealander has gone on to become a regular feature in the first-team squad. The club also boast a strong Hong Kong connection having previously been led by former Hong Kong coach Ernie Merrick.