Following Canadian International School of Hong Kong’s (CDNIS) dramatic victory at the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Football Tournament last Friday afternoon, team captain Mark Kaiser explained their success. “I think being versatile was the key. We all worked so hard in training to know our positions and how to play off of each other,” he said.
The Jing Ying has previously been dominated by local school teams. This year, CDNIS was one of five international schools competing in the event. And they did not disappoint their supporters as they went to win the tournament. Few international school teams have won the competition, which was launched 35 years ago.
It was the perfect underdog story after the team had struggled to a third-place finish in last year’s tournament. They went back to the drawing board and diligently prepared for this year’s tournament. CDNIS stunned last year’s winners, YCH Tung Chi Ying Memorial Secondary School (YCH), in the final, winning 6-5 in a penalty shootout.
CDNIS’ star goalkeeper, Dan Healy, 16, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. His team conceded only one goal during the competition.
Dan, who kept another impressive clean sheet in the final, saved a crucial penalty for his team in the shootout. He explained that it could have gone either way with penalties. “We were fortunate to win on penalties but, overall, I think we deserved it,” he said.
Dan also said he was fully focused during the most important moments. “I just tried to imagine myself getting my hand on the ball ... Forget about what happened and look forward to what’s going to happen.”
CDNIS coach Justin Wah was delighted with his team’s performance. “It’s a great story. We were the underdogs in every game but we rose to the occasion. Before the tournament, nobody thought we could win.” Wah praised his players’ teamwork and determination, saying they were willing to put in the hard work and showed guts. “I don’t think anybody could say we got lucky,” he said, adding that the key was getting the team to believe in working for each other.
Mark thanked the dedicated fans that cheered the team from kick-off to the final whistle. Before the kickoff, the CDNIS fans performed the Viking Thunder-clap ceremony, made famous by the Iceland football team at Euro 2016. “It really helped,” Mark said. “The school spirit brought the team together.”