Two Bulldogs on football scholarships from Hong Kong shines in America

Two Bulldogs on football scholarships from Hong Kong shines in America

Two rising football stars from Hong Kong are playing for an American university and enjoying every moment

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Toby Down (left) and Aries Fung are at Concordia University in the US on football scholarships.
Photos: Toby Down

For a small territory, Hong Kong has produced some amazing student athletes. But for many of these young sports stars, the city doesn't offer enough exposure or opportunities to enhance their skills. So what's the solution?

For Aries Fung Kwun-ming and Toby Down, the answer was a football scholarship. Both boys received offers for sports scholarships to Concordia University in Nebraska, in the US, to play football for its team, The Bulldogs.

Toby, 21, a graduate of King George V School (KGV), has just started his second year at the university. He first played football at Kowloon Cricket Club, and soon fell in love with the game. "I love the technical skill of the game," he explains. "There are many sports that involve a person's hands, but I feel it's more challenging to use your feet."

Aries, 19, a fresh graduate of Ying Wa College, has just begun his first year at Concordia. For him, football is in his blood. "My father, Fung Tin-choi, was a professional player," Aries says. "I began to play soccer with him when I was young."

With such a background, it's no wonder Aries followed in his father's footsteps. He received the Best Defender award in a Hong Kong secondary school competition in 2013, and also won Most Valuable Player in the Nike Five Hong Kong competition the same year.

Aries says Toby - who joined Concordia last September - has helped him adjust to life in the US and welcome him to the Bulldog team. Toby is also no stranger to the competitive side of secondary school sports in Hong Kong. He helped KGV reach the Jing Ying finals in 2012, and also scored against English Premier League club Sunderland's under-21 team when they visited Hong Kong.

He says being a student athlete is much easier in the US than in Hong Kong, although he had some early difficulties adjusting to his new environment. "The biggest challenge [in Hong Kong] was staying fit," he says. "It's easier to do that here because of the training regime. In Hong Kong, I felt that was difficult."

But Aries says that no matter where you are, football makes you feel welcome.

"It's awesome to be with your teammates on the field, enjoying every moment with them whether it is winning or losing," he says.

Toby agrees. "The worldwide love for the sport, it's like a religion or language that everyone follows, and the emotion involved in football is amazing."


Bench Notes

The low-down on Toby Down

What song/movie title best describes you when you're playing your sport?
The song I like to listen to most when training is Winners' Anthem by Shotty Horroh. I also like You Are My Hope by Skillet.

If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use your power?
It would be speed like The Flash. I would use it for good things, as well as to improve my football skills!

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
It would be too much of a burden. I wouldn't want to rely on an unlimited supply of anything - not even money. I would prefer to work hard and enjoy the rewards.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Bulldog spirit lives on

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