Standing in front of 3,000 spectators, Vincent Cheung Wai-sing felt very nervous as he prepared to represent Hong Kong at the 2015 Asian Football Confederation U-18 Championship.
"The number of people in the stadium surprised me," the 17-year-old La Salle College student says. "In Hong Kong, it is impossible to have more than 500 spectators in a youth match."
The Hong Kong team played against Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Brunei and Vietnam in the tournament held from September 28 to October 6, in Yangon, Myanmar. Vincent says he had never played in front of such large crowds before. "It was the first time I played in front of thousands of people," says Vincent. "The cheering by our rival fans was very loud and the atmosphere was so tense that I felt very nervous and worried before the match began."
Part of being a football star is the ability to conquer those nerves, even when playing in a new setting. And Vincent is used to adjusting to new places. "I have trained in different countries such as Spain, Korea and the UK," he says. "In the training camp in Tottenham [England], there was a lot of new equipment and facilities that I had never seen before."
Each new location has helped him learn and improve his skills over the 10 years he has been playing football.
"When I was small, my dad often brought me and my sister out to play football," he recalls. "That's the reason why I got involved with this sport. Even now, I still play football with my dad and sister when we have free time."
Vincent was recruited by the La Salle Primary School football team when he was in Primary Three, and played alongside much older teammates. Being the youngest on the team may have been a challenge, but Vincent was prepared for it. "I can still remember the fantastic moment when I scored the last-minute goal at the North Kowloon inter-school football match when I was in Primary Five, which helped the team make it through the final," he says.
But his most memorable moment came at a bigger tournament. "My greatest personal achievement has been representing Hong Kong in 2013 when the Hong Kong Youth Team made history and qualified for the AFC U-16 Championship," he says. "My ultimate goal in sport is to get onto the Hong Kong national team, to wear that red jersey and to play, and even score goals for Hong Kong."
Vincent plays other sports, too, including volleyball, beach volleyball and basketball. But no matter the sport, Vincent says it's all about that winning moment. "Whatever the sport, the one thing I love the most is the moment when our team celebrates after scoring a goal or winning a match," he says.
What song/movie title best describes you when you're playing your sport?
Andy Grammer's Keep Your Head Up.
If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use this power?
I would choose the power of teleportation because I love to travel around the world. Then I could go to any country, anytime, to embrace new cultures and see different places that I haven't seen before.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
It would be an unlimited supply of happiness. I think that it is important for a person to stay positive. Negative feelings will affect a person's daily life and their work. An unlimited supply of happiness would help me deal with the heavy workload, and allow me to keep going, overcoming all obstacles along the way.
Ten years on, you are a famous athlete. What company would you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product would you promote?
I would like to be a spokesperson for Hong Kong. If I were a famous athlete, I would promote the city's sports tourism and bring more major sports events to Hong Kong. This would enhance Hong Kong's image, making it the Sports City of Asia.