Football is life to budding star Morgan Powell, who is looking to take Hong Kong Football Club to unprecedented heights.
“I’ve been kicking a ball since I can remember,” said the 15-year-old. “I joined my first club when I was three years old.”
Now the Creative Secondary School student plays for his school team, the Hong Kong Football Club, and the Hong Kong National Team.
“I train at least four times a week and play at least one game per week, and it amounts to about 10 hours a week,” Morgan said. “Also, I spend just as much time practising on my own or with teammates in the little free time that I have.
“But it’s all worth it – being able to play my favourite sport with my best friends and testing myself against the best opposition both in Hong Kong and around the world.”
Morgan, who also trains for track and field and cross-country, said a big reason for his success is his ability to work harder than his opponents. “I pride myself on my work [ethic] and like to get ahead as much as possible,” he said.
The centre midfielder enjoys both the offensive and defensive aspects of his position, and his well-roundedness earned him a spot on the Hong Kong team earlier this year. “It was a proud moment for me to walk out with the national team,” Morgan said.
“I was born in and have grown up in Hong Kong, and was proud when my hard work and hours of dedication to football were recognised and [proud that] I could contribute to help the national team.”
Morgan is also contributing on a more local scale. Last month, he helped the Hong Kong Football Club make the final 16 of the Gothia Cup U15 tournament – the largest and most international youth football tournament in the world that takes place in Sweden, and features around 200 top teams from across the globe.
Although they lost to the eventual champions, Polish team AP Top 54, Morgan says the future looks bright for Hong Kong football.
“The youth leagues are getting stronger every year,” he said. “The coaches are becoming more qualified and there are a lot of foreign coaches coming into Hong Kong that are bringing fresh ideas to Hong Kong football.”
Morgan says the most difficult part of being a great footballer in this city is balancing training with his studies.
“I travel by public transport to and from all my training sessions, and often get home after 9pm so by the time I have eaten, I have very limited time for school work if I am to get enough sleep,” he said.
Still, he seems to be doing a fine job balancing both as he recently received an academic excellence award at his school while also receiving the Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation Ten Sports Excellence Award.
But he knows where his heart lies, and while he isn’t letting his studies slip, he is putting his football career first.
“It is my dream to become a professional footballer,” Morgan said.
“I know it is difficult to achieve this but I will continue to work hard and do whatever I can to achieve my dream.”
Who is your role model in your sport?
I don’t really have a role model but I do look up to players like Gareth Bale. I am half-Welsh so he is a bit of a hero of mine, not to mention one of the best players in the world. He continues to work hard at his game and his fitness, as well as being a very down-to-Earth person.
Do you have any pre-match superstitions?
I always have to eat my pre-match meals in the same order, I have to put my left sock and boot on first, my bag is always packed the same, and I have to listen to my pre-match playlist in the same order, which changes every season.
What do you eat before a match?
My favourite pre-match meal is chicken, rice and vegetables, with a bowl of muesli and yogurt.
If you could describe yourself as an animal on the pitch, what would it be?
A horse – because I’m fast and I have good stamina.