HKJC and HKFA TEAM UP
Following the successful launch of the Summer Youth Football Scheme, The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) today announced the second stage of Jockey Club’s Youth Football Development Programme. The aim of the three year, “Training Scheme” is to identify and develop promising football talent within the Districts of Hong Kong and to provide them with the most effective environment for them to learn and train.
The programme was announced at a special launch ceremony held today at the Hong Kong Football Club. Attending today’s announcement were Mr Brian Leung, Chairman of the Hong Kong Football Association, Miss Olivia Chan, Assistant Director of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Mr. Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of HKJC.
These special guests were joined by two programme ambassadors, Mr. Lam Ka Wai, a leading Hong Kong footballer from the Kitchee club and Ms. Chan Yuen Ting, a woman’s footballer from Shatin Sport Association. Joining these two professional stars were 4 local youth representing the regions of the territory.
The comprehensive Jockey Club Youth Football Development Programme Training Scheme is facilitated through all 18 districts in Hong Kong and covers players from the age 7 through to 18. The programme is designed to provide footballers of intermediate and advanced levels, an opportunity to train and learn in a more effective environment, with a proper guidance to develop and improve, and play competitive football over the season period. The emphasis of the training Scheme is to provide a compensative platform to identify and develop promising talent to play professional football and perhaps represent Hong Kong in the future.
This season-long programme (August through to May) provides regular training to players who are interested in competitive football. Players in the Training Scheme are eligible to play in various competitions and the Elite Youth League organized by the HKFA.
With the support of the HKJC for the Jockey Club Youth Football Development Programme, local youth footballers will now have the opportunity to continue their development and play the game on a year-round basis. Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, said, “The Club aims to provide long-term and comprehensive support for Hong Kong’s football development, spanning different age groups, skill levels and genders and covering both software and hardware projects. We strongly believe that systematic training for youth players will be key to the success of Hong Kong football in future.”
Mr Brian Leung, Chairman of the HKFA, commented on the programme’s expansion saying, “District training is a critical part of Hong Kong Football development. High participation rates, improved coaching and an appropriate training environment are critical components to ensuring the development of high quality footballers. With the support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, I fully believe that the HKFA will be able to achieve this vision.”
“This year is a watershed year for the training scheme. The generosity of the HKJC affords the inclusion of a dedicated women’s football training programme for the very first time. We recognized that that women’s football has been historically under resourced, and again through this partnership with the HKJC, it allows us to rectify this and provide an opportunity for the game to flourish under the HKFA’s leadership. The women’s programme will be a cornerstone for the development of the women’s game.” Chairman Leung added, “We eagerly anticipate having more youth players going through the programme, going on to wear the Hong Kong jersey with pride.”
The potential of the new programme to identify and develop future talent for the Hong Kong Representative teams is best exemplified by the two programme ambassadors, Kitchee FC’s Lam Ka Wai and Chan Yuen Ting, one of the most popular women’s footballer and coach.
Lam Ka Wai, is a current Hong Kong Representative team player and Chan Yuen Ting has been one of the coaches for this scheme in previous years. She is a woman’s footballer from Shatin Sport Association in the Hong Kong Ladies Football League.
Lam Ka Wai spoke about the importance of getting proper training at a young age, “This year-round scheme not only can provide a proper technical and physical training, but also offer a chance to play in competitive games to strengthen their playing experience and winning spirit. I look forward to playing alongside the young players who register in the programme in the coming future.”
The selection of Jockey Club Youth Football Development Programme – training scheme will start in August. Interested participants can download the form from HKFA website or get the registration form from various District Leisure Service Offices under Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Through the support of the HKJC, the entry fee for those selected players is reduced from HK$600 to only HK$200 this year while it is free of charge to participate in the selection.