No sport is as universal as football. It's played around the world, and as such was a fitting way to bring together teams and supporters from across Hong Kong to help some of the city's most vulnerable people.
The Home & Away Charity Tournament, held on November 14 at the YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, saw 12 teams from schools, corporations and non-profit groups compete and raise funds for Hong Kong's refugee community.
The event was organised by members of both the boys' and girls' teams of the Hong Kong Youth National Football Team, and raised more than HK$260,000 for the cause.
Alexandre Dujardin, a representative of the Hong Kong Youth National Team and student at French International School, said that it was a lot of work to put on the event, but the result was worth it.
"It was my first time doing this type of charity work," said Alexandre. "We put in a lot of effort managing this event, and it was a resounding success."
Fellow Hong Kong Youth National Team player, Taylor Chik Hin-ho of Ying Wa College, agreed. "There were about 26 volunteers involved in our tournament," he said. "If the team didn't work together, the process would not be smooth. As the Charity Leader, I spent more time focusing on the pitch set-up and equipment management."
While focusing on logistics rather than football may have been a new experience for these players, once they saw the amount of funds raised, they knew their hard work had paid off.
"[The refugees] are going through a very difficult time, and for many, it is unimaginable," said Taylor, who was glad to be able to give back through the sport he loves.
Hong Kong Women's National Team representative Wong Wai-yee, who attends Jockey Club Ti-I College, says the event was a melting pot of experiences and cultures. "There were people of different ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds," she said. "I had a chance to talk to refugees, international students, investment bankers, teachers, and people who work in large corporations."
And while football was the main focus of the day, Wai-yee says the best moments came in between the games.
"My favourite moment was at lunch," she said, as everyone was relaxed and sharing their experiences with those around them.
The Vine Community Services Ltd A and B teams secured the top positions in the tournament, followed by Kwoon Chung Motors and Diocesan Boys' School Alumni.