This is a dream come true for the talented attacker known for her precision passing and fancy footwork. Though she had previously tried to make it as a pro in Japan, she returned to Hong Kong for family reasons and had been working as a waiter in a cha chaan teng to make ends meet.
When asked about what hurdles she expected, Cheung said she did not feel far-off the technical and physical standard of the Brisbane players and felt the language barrier would be her most difficult challenge.
The Brisbane Roar are two-time champions of the W-League, the top-division women’s football league in Australia, which is entering its 10th season. They finished seventh last season.
The women’s team will play five double-headers with the men’s team at the 52,000-capacity SunCorp Stadium this season, while Fox Sports will broadcast 27 W-League games.
“I am pleased to welcome Wai-ki to the Brisbane Roar family,” head coach Mel Andreatta said on the club’s website.
“She brings more experience to our team and will be an important part of our attack.
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Details of Cheung’s contract were not revealed, but it will be far, far removed from the riches on offer to male players.
The W-League announced a new collective bargaining agreement on Monday saying players’ average annual salary would rise from A$6,909 to A$15,500 (HK$43,249 to HK$97,027) this season and to $17,400 (HK$108,921) the next.
Hong Kong Football Association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe hailed Cheung’s success as another landmark for women’s soccer in the city.
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Hong Kong previously made history for women in soccer as Chan Yuen-ting became the first female coach to guide a men’s team to a league title in a top professional league when she led Eastern to the HK Premier League crown.
Also, referee Gigi Law Bik-chi is one of the few female Fifa-qualified officials in Asia.
“Girls and women’s soccer is the fastest growing sport in the world and Hong Kong is at the forefront of this change. The phenomenal success of coach Chan Yuen-ting and referee Gigi Law are just two examples of Hong Kong’s pre-eminence,” added Sutcliffe.