Ever wondered who the next big star of the English Premier League will be? You might get a glimpse of a future superstar at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens, an annual seven-a-side football tournament.
This tourney is divided up into two sections – the Main Tournament, featuring several international clubs, professional Hong Kong clubs and amateur Hong Kong teams; and the Master’s Tournament which features players who rely more on their brains rather than their brawn on the field.
This year sees 2012 Champions League finalists Chelsea return to the Soccer Sevens for the first time in 12 years, drawn against defending champions Kitchee who will be out to prove that last season was no fluke. Meanwhile, perennial favourites Aston Villa and Celtic also return to the Hong Kong Football Club stadium.
Last year’s tournament was dominated by local teams, despite early warnings that Liverpool and Ajax would sweep everything in their stride. Local champions Kitchee won the final on the strength of their stern defence.
Youth teams from renowned European and South American clubs such as Aston Villa, Celtic and Rangers have been regular competitors in recent years at the Soccer Sevens, with several of the stars who featured in the competition going on to play for the senior teams at their respective clubs, including Aston Villa youngster Nathan Delfouneso.
The Soccer Sevens, now in its 13th year, is an annual fun weekend out for footie fans, complemented with plenty of beer, tasty grub and a casual, carnival-like atmosphere – despite the serious competition on the pitch. Our only gripe: must they use the word soccer?
Catch the Soccer Sevens at the Hong Kong Football Club from Friday May 18- Sun May 20. Tickets: $200-$120 (Free on Fri) at hkticketing.com.