Queens Park Rangers will be making their debut appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens this year. ‘QPR’ had an impressive start to the 2022-23 campaign, competing at the top end of the second tier but struggled to maintain form to regain their Premier League status. February 2023 marked the start of a new era at the Club, with newly appointed Manager Gareth Ainsworth taking the reins, and with the support of Technical Director Chris Ramsey (ex. Tottenham Hotspur and the Football Association) and Director of Football Les Ferdinand (ex. QPR, Newcastle, Tottenham and England international), there is optimism for the 2023-24 campaign. The wealth of experience amongst the staff is contrast to its newly emerging talent within its B-Team cohort, who are travelling to represent West London on the international stage. The youngsters are hoping to emulate their recent graduates, such as Eberechi Eze, to go on to achieve their own success in the game, having mirrored a similar campaign to their senior, where they exited the Premier League Cup Round of 16 to neighbours Fulham.
Tai Po Football Club
Tai Po Football Club is a district football team founded 20 years ago. Over the years, we have trained more than 20,000 teenagers and more than 5% have become professional players. We unite people hearts through their performance on the pitch and take social responsibility off the pitch. We organize school campus visits to enhance the interests of young people and establish teamwork and discipline through football.
We also collaborate with the Home Affairs Bureau, District Councils, regional organizations and charitable groups to promote positive messages through football. Our goal is to recruit more teenagers to join the team and we will provide them guidance to support their dreams of being a football player. As our slogan says, “Play for Community.”
Singapore Football Club
The club plays across three competitions in Singapore’s domestic leagues and is currently top of all three. SFC’s playing squad comprises of a number ex
Singaporean internationals, and former professional as well as semi professional expatriate players.
MUST CPK Football Team
CPK FOOTBALL TEAM is a Macau sports club established in 2009 to participate in the Macau First Division Football League. The chairman is Stephen Chow, the director is Iancio Hui.
The sponsor for 2017 is GRANDE LAB sporting goods. In January 2017, CPK announced the establishment of youth to discover talents for the future of the Macau football world.
In 2018, CPK won the title sponsorship of MACAU SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY GROUP CoLtd and will use “ MUST CPK “ to compete in all competitions throughout the following year, including seven-a-side and youth leagues.
Finally, our main ambition is to win every single soccer trophy in the world.
The Club was born when a school teacher and churchwarden formed a team for local boys at Fulham St Andrew’s Church in 1879. Although cricket initially took the priority, seven years later, the team won their first silverware, the West London Amateur Cup, beating St Matthew’s 2-1 in the Final.
The Club’s title was shortened to Fulham Football Club in January 1889, meaning the original nickname of the Saints had to be dropped.
In 1896, after two years of development, the Club finally took residence in their new home – one that would not only match our ambitions but also offer a more secure foundation to move forward.
Fulham won their first home game, too, beating Minerva 4-0 in the Middlesex Senior Cup, and very quickly the symbolic relationship between Club and ground was forged. To this day, few clubs can claim to be more synonymous with its home.
The FA Cup Final was the unprecedented highlight of the 1970s. Having reached the Semi-Final for a fourth time in 1962, Fulham finally made the Wembley showpiece in May 1975 after a staggering 11-game run (a never-to-be-beaten record of most games en route to the final) that included six replays.
Then a Division Two club, Fulham would meet Division One West Ham United in the Final – a match that would sadly end in a 2-0 defeat. However, against all the odds we had finally got to the Final and in going close the side, led by Captain Mullery, would be remembered for many years to come.
Newcastle Jets will be making their first-ever appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens this year, with the club from Australia on a high after an impressive showing on the domestic scene throughout the 2017-18 season.
After struggling in recent years, Newcastle qualified for the A-League Finals behind Premiers Sydney FC, a remarkable turnaround for the club after finishing bottom of the standings the previous season. Much of the credit for that goes to head coach Ernie Merrick, who has close links with Hong Kong as the Scotland-born tactician was previously at the helm of the city’s representative team.
Youth team coach Lawrie McKinna, meanwhile, has a strong track record of working with some of the best young talent in Australia. Newcastle have been home to Socceroos such as Mark Bridge and Jade North as well as Ante Milicic, currently an assistant coach to Dutchman Bert van Marwijk, who will take the country to the finals of the World Cup in Russia in June.
Newcastle’s glory days in the A-League date back to the 2007-08 season when, after a second placed finish in the regular season, the club won the A-League Grand Final, defeating Central Coast Mariners.
Brighton& Hove Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion will reflect on the 2022/23 season as the finest in the club’s history. The Seagulls headed into the final five games of the Premier League season with the prospect of qualifying for Europe for the first time.
When Graham Potter left after six games of the season to become Chelsea’s head coach the club appointed former Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk coach Roberto De Zerbi, and after a period of adjustment the team’s fortunes have been on an upward curve.
Wins over the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as a club Premier League record 6-0 victory against Wolves in early May propelled Albion into a European place.
De Zerbi hasn’t just relied on the tried and tested in his squad, with striker Evan Ferguson getting first-team action after progressing through the academy, while teenagers Julio Enciso and Facundo Buonanotte have also been given regular opportunities.
Academy graduate Odel Offiah was handed his Premier League against Nottingham Forest in April, playing in a team that already included fans’ favourites Lewis Dunk and Solly March, who also came through the club’s youth pathway.
Despite the disappointment of losing the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United on penalties, it is still hard to believe that 26 years ago it needed a draw in the final game of the season to stop the club dropping out of the Football League.
Playing in exile at Gillingham and then in a converted athletics stadium at Withdean were trying times but since Tony Bloom was appointed chairman in 2009 the club has enjoyed a meteoric rise.
Promotion to the Championship in 2011 came in the same year as the club moved into the American Express Community Stadium.
They played in the second tier until 2017 before winning promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 1983. After consolidating their place in the for three seasons Albion obtained their best points with 51 in the 2021-22 campaign, a total they have already beaten this season with five games to go.
Hong Kong, China U22 Representative Team
Hong Kong, China U22 Representative Team is made up with promising young talent in Hong Kong football. Talented, motivated and hungry to showcase their skills in front of local and overseas football fans, Hong Kong, China U22 Representative Team is ready to go all out in this year’s HKFC Citibank Soccer 7s tournament, hoping to test themselves against the world’s finest emerging football talents, as well as to delight the crowd on hand.
One of the powerhouses of French football, Marseille are the first side from France to compete at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
The club from the Cote d’Azur boast a proud history, having won the first ever UEFA Champions League in 1993 when they beat AC Milan 1-0 in the final with a line-up that included the likes of World Cup winners Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and Rudi Voller and they remain the only French side to have been crowned European champions.
Domestically, the late 80s and early 90s marked Marseille’s most successful period when the team claimed four straight league championships between 1989 and 1992, while they also have won a record 10 French Cups.
More recently, the club last won the French league in 2010, when they also picked up the first of three successive League Cups.
With both Paris St. Germain and Monaco having enjoyed huge cash injections in recent years in buyouts that have elevated the status of France’s domestic league, the southern France side have found competition tougher of late.
But with an experienced squad that includes former Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra, ex-Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby and one of the stars of Euro 2016, recent acquisition Dimitri Payet, Marseille could be ready to challenge for major honours once again.
Former Italian champions Cagliari Calcio became the first team from Italy to participate at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens when the Serie A club took to the pitch at Hong Kong Football Club last year.
Cagliari, who are based on the island of Sardinia, reached the final of the Shield in their debut in the competition, only to lose 2-0 to West Ham United.
The club made their return to Serie A last season and finished in 11th place in Italy’s top flight. The club’s finest hour came in 1970 when, having finished as runners-up a year earlier, Cagliari won Serie A for the first and only time. That team was captained by Italy’s all-time leading scorer Gigi Riva, who, after making more than 300 appearances and scoring over 160 goals for Cagliari, boasts such an iconic status on Sardinia that his number 11 jersey has been retired.
Other notable players to have appeared for Cagliari include former Chelsea playmaker Gianfranco Zola and ex-Uruguay internationals Enzo Francescoli and Daniel Fonseca. Midfielder Nicolo Barella is a product of the Cagliari academy and has represented Italy at various levels while Han Kwang Song made his first appearance for the club in the league last year to become the first player from North Korea to play in Serie A.
The first German side to compete at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, Bayer Leverkusen have been one of Germany’s best performing teams over the past two decades, having finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga five times between 1997 and 2011.
Having gained a reputation as the nearly men of German football, Leverkusen also finished as runners-up to Real Madrid in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final with a line-up that included Michael Ballack and Brazilian World Cup winner Lucio.
Indeed, the 2001-02 season featured arguably Leverkusen’s strongest team ever, yet ended in disappointed as the side also finished second in both the league and cup.
The side from Germany’s Rhine region have, however, enjoyed previous success, winning the UEFA Cup in 1988 and the German Cup in 1993, while they again reached the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2017.
Among the other notable players who have turned out for the club are former Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov, ex-Liverpool defender Sami Hyppia, former Brazilian international Ze Roberto and current Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal.
The current crop of players includes Benjamin Henrichs, Kevin Kampl and Danny da Costa – all of whom have come through the youth ranks – as well as Germany international Lars Bender and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez.
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.
Thai Youth Football Home
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.