Hong Kong teen footballers head to Germany for training camp with FC Bayern Munich

Hong Kong teen footballers head to Germany for training camp with FC Bayern Munich

Two of Hong Kong's up-and-coming football stars talk about their experiences at the Allianz Junior Football Camp in Munich, Germany

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Justin Ho (left) and So Hoi-lam made Hong Kong proud, representing our city at the international training camp.
Photo: Allianz Junior Football Camp

The grassy smell of the freshly trimmed pitch. The glare of the stadium floodlights. The roar of the crowd as the ball arcs through the air and soars past the keeper's outstretched fingers and hits the net.

While famous footballers like Beckham and Messi know this scene all too well, it's still a dream for 16-year-old Justin Ho Chun-ting and 15-year-old So Hoi-lam. But it's a dream that's getting closer every day, especially after the two student athletes represented Hong Kong at the Allianz Junior Football Camp in Munich, Germany, in August.

Justin and Hoi-lam joined 73 other students from across the globe for an unforgettable experience, learning from FC Bayern Munich coaches and players in a five-day camp.

To Justin, the experience helped put his hours of training and practice into perspective. "One of the FC Bayern Munich coaches said that even the best players like Arjen Robben are doing the same as us every day," the St Paul's College student remembers. "And the key to success is to keep the right attitude at every training, and push to improve every time."

The camp also made the pair aware of weaknesses they hadn't realised before. Justin, who played as midfielder in Hong Kong's first bid in the AFC championship U16 in Thailand in 2014, found that he was not as physically strong as players his age from other countries.

The players pose with Berni, the official mascot of FC Bayern Munich.
Photo: Allianz Junior Football Camp


Even though Hoi-Lam grew up playing against her brother, she feels the same way. A student at Chelsea FC Soccer School Hong Kong, Hoi-lam was the top scorer in the HKFA Women's Youth League last season. "I am too short and not strong enough to compete with the others," she said about being at the camp.

But the pair soon realised that there were bigger obstacles for players to overcome. "Two of our teammates from other countries were hearing impaired," says Hoi-lam, which added to the existing language barrier as a hurdle to communication.

For Justin, the camp provided an entirely new obstacle by putting him up against opponents he had never faced before - females. "The strangest thing for me was to play with girls, as this was the first time in my life I had ever done that," he admits.

In the end, they overcame these challenges as they learned and grew as athletes together. In fact, to both Justin and Hoi-lam's surprise, the most difficult part of the came was actually the ending.

"The hardest thing was to say goodbye to all the new friends I made in Germany," says Justin. "They were easy to get along with and we became good friends. It's hard to say goodbye to them because it will be hard to see them again."


Bench Notes

What song/movie title best describes you when you're playing your sport?
Justin: Movie? Goal! The Dream Begins

You can have any superpower for 24 hours. What do you choose and how would you use it?
Justin: Super energy, so I wouldn't play badly on the pitch due to fatigue.
Hoi-lam: To have unlimited energy, to help me win an important match for Hong Kong.

If you could have anything in the world, what would it be and why?
Hoi-lam: To have Cristiano Ronaldo as my personal coach - he's my idol.


This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Hong Kong to Munich

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