Student Yuen Ho-chun: A Life with Study and Soccer
One of the three goalkeepers at the Hong Kong Pegasus Football Club, student of The Education University of Hong Kong Yuen Ho-chun recently represented Hong Kong at the 40th Guangdong–Hong Kong Cup, earning man-of-the-match honours and helping the Hong Kong team claim the championship for the first time in five years.
Currently studying in the second year of the Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Physical Education) programme, Ho-chun had his first soccer experience with children in his neighbourhood while growing up. After attending a summer soccer-training programme followed by formal training, Ho-chun started his career as a soccer player at the age of 15. However, he did not choose to be a goalkeeper, and the coach determined all positions on the team when he was 11. “Perhaps I was a bit fat at that time and not as nimble as others; the coach assigned me to the position of goalkeeper”, Ho-chun recalled. “Though not interested at the beginning, I gradually developed a sense of success after I had a grasp of the techniques and realised the important role a goalkeeper plays.”
Attending training sessions at least three times a week, it is never easy for Ho-chun to balance his study and career. “My class schedule inevitably clashes with the training sessions, and I could only get special approval from some of my course lecturers or relevant departments to accommodate my training or tournament schedules. It will be a big challenge when it comes to the teaching practice in Year 3 and 5.” In addition to a passion for soccer, Ho-chun’s family support, especially that from his mother, drives him to be his best. “My mother has been giving me her full support since the first day I joined the soccer-training programme. She has been an all-time spectator, watching and videotaping me regardless of whether I’m in training or at a tournament”, he explained. Ho-chun’s mother also sought advice from various coaches when he was encouraged to become a professional player.
Given his devotion to soccer and study, there is little time left for Ho-chun to spend with his family and friends. His most constant entertainment is listening to music when commuting alone.
In planning his life and career, Ho-chun is grateful for the guidance given by one of the coaches he met at the Wofoo Tai Po Football Club, Mr Chan Ka-ki, who was also teaching in the Associate Degree programme he later took at the then HKIEd. In view of soccer players’ short careers, Mr Chan suggested that Ho-chun should continue studying and become a coach or a teacher upon retirement.
Looking ahead, the last match of the third round of AFC Asian Cup qualification* will be held in North Korea in March. Ho-chun is pushing the envelope to compete for the few positions available to the 30 goalkeepers from at least 10 local teams. We wish him the best of luck in excelling at the next level!
*Twenty-four teams will compete in the third round of the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualifiers. The tournament is being held from March 2017 to March 2018. The draw for the third round was held in January 2017, and the 24 teams were drawn into six groups of four. Hong Kong is in Group B with Lebanon, Malaysia and North Korea.