Bayer Leverkusen, Leicester City, Olympique Marseille at Soccer Sevens

Defending Soccer Sevens champions Aston Villa will face German newcomers Bayer Leverkusen, HKFA U-23 and competition regulars Singapore Cricket Club in an intriguing looking Group C after the draw for the May 26-28 tournament took place at Hong Kong Football Club on Tuesday.

Villa defeated West Ham United 2-0 in last year’s final to lift the trophy for a record sixth time having last been victorious in 2010. And the holders’ match against Leverkusen – the first side from Germany to compete in the tournament – promises to be one of the most interesting of the group stage.

We knew it was going to be exciting with the new teams coming in,” said Soccer Sevens Tournament Director Chris Plowman. Leverkusen are one of three debutants from Europe, with Olympique Marseille and Cagliari Calcio becoming the first teams from France and Italy respectively to feature as the tournament increases it’s international flavour.

In 2015, Atletico Madrid became the first Spanish side to appear at the tournament as they made their debut in style by lifting the Cup following a thrilling 3-2 win over West Ham after extra-time in the final.

Marseille have been drawn in Group D alongside 2015 and 2016 runners-up West Ham. Hong Kong Premier League side and 2011 winners Kitchee along with Yau Yee League Select, who represent the local amateur league complete the group.

Cagliari are in Group A, where they will meet 2009 and 2010 runners-up Glasgow Rangers, who return after a two-year absence. South Korea’s FC Seoul, who reached the semi-final on their debut, and Hong Kong Football Club make up the group.

We wanted to become more international,” added Plowman. “We were fortunate enough to get Atletico Madrid in 2015 and they were a just a revelation. They played fantastic football and came back in the final from 2-0 down to win. That got us excited and we thought let’s carry that on and go out to more of the European leagues and see if this event will be of interest to them and they all responded positively.”

For local Premier League side and hosts Hong Kong Football Club the group will be a huge test against sides with contrasting styles from all over the world. “It’s a tough draw, but we’re looking to [get through] and play in the Main tournament,” said HKFC captain Andrew Wylde

It’s good fun, but it’s going to be tough. You get close to them and they’ll spin you, you give them time and they’ll turn at you. The fitness is one thing, but it’s the ability to stick with them with their quality.”

English Premier League Champions Leicester – winners of the Shield last year – have been paired with 2016 semi-finalists Wellington Phoenix, Japan’s Kashima Antlers and HKFC Captain’s Select. The match-up with Wellington marks a repeat of last year’s quarter-final in which the A-League side from New Zealand ran out 2-1 winners over the English side.

In the Masters tournament, holders Citi All Stars, who won the competition for the first-time last year after beating local side USRC 3-1 in the final, have been drawn in Group A alongside Singapore Cricket Club Tigers, HKFC Masters, Discovery Bay and last year’s beaten finalists.

In Group B, Playon Pros – who will bring with them an exciting line-up of former English Premier League players, have been paired with Wallsend Boys Club, Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans, HKFC Chairman’s Select and Yau Yee League Masters.

The format is great because there’s always lots of action on the pitch and the games are relatively short,” added Hong Kong Football Association Chief Executive Mark Sutcliffe. There’s a lot of space on the pitch for people to exploit so it’s a very exciting format. There are some fantastic teams and big names, so this is a great opportunity for some of our players to test themselves against players from other countries.”

Soccer Sevens 2017

Group A
Cagliari Calcio, Glasgow Rangers, FC Seoul, Hong Kong Football Club

Group B
Leicester City, Wellington Phoenix, Kashima Antlers, HKFC Captain’s Select

Group C
Aston Villa, Bayer Leverkusen, HKFA U-23, Singapore Cricket Club

Group D
Marseille, West Ham, Kitchee, Yau Yee League Select

Masters Tournament

Group A
Citi All Stars, Singapore Cricket Club Tigers, HKFC Masters, Discovery Bay, USRC

Group B
Playon Pros, Wallsend Boys Club, Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans, HKFC Chairman’s Select, Yau Yee League Masters.

Soccer Sevens

Date: 26-28 May, 2017
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: $300 (Weekend pass), $160 (Day ticket), Free (Friday night) from Ticketflap
More info:
26 May (Fri): 6 – 9pm; exhibition youth matches start at 4.45pm
27 May (Sat): 9am – 7.40pm
28 May (Sun): 9am – 6pm

Soccer Sevens Return in May

The HKFC Soccer Sevens turn 18 this year, with Tournament Director Chris Plowman announcing an expanded main event line-up of top leagues sending teams looking to dethrone 2016 winners Aston Villa.

“I can tell you now,” said Plowman “that we will be seeing representation from three of Europe’s top leagues: Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga as well as our regular visitors from the Premier League and Scotland’s Premier League, plus teams from the K-League in South Korea, the J.League in Japan, Australia’s A-League, Singapore and, of course, Hong Kong.”

The Masters tournament which runs alongside the main event and features many legends of the past will again see a team from the legendary Wallsend Boys Club. Founded in 1904 just outside Newcastle the Boys Club has been the footballing birthplace for a long line of players including Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Michael Carrick and Tony Sealy.

Wallsend are setting up a local branch. “We are looking to establish exactly what we have on Tyneside in Hong Kong and give underprivileged children the chance to play football and get them into leagues. We will supply strips from the UK and give them all the backing that we can,” said Wallsend Boys Club chairman Steve Dale.

HKFC Soccer Sevens
Date: 26-28 may, 2017
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: tbc

Soccer Sevens @ HK Football Club – 29-31 May, 2015

Atletico Madrid

Reigning Spanish champions Atletico Madrid will make their tournament debut at this year’s Soccer Sevens, which will be held at Hong Kong Football Club from May 29-31.

Atletico, Spain’s third-best supported club after Real Madrid and Barcelona, will be the first Spanish club to compete in the annual seven-a-side tournament, which will mark its 16th edition in May – a year after Atletico clinched their 10th La Liga title.

Emilio Gutiérrez, Director of the club’s Academy and Expansion, said: “Atletico Madrid is proud to be the first Spanish side to compete at the Soccer Sevens, which has a strong reputation. We can see that many great teams have won the event and each year there are famous clubs competing, so we’ll just do our best and hope to entertain the fans with our style of football. We are sure that this tournament will be also a great platform to promote the Atletico Madrid brand all over the Asian market, which is a strategic area in the international expansion process of our club.”

Stoke City will also make their tournament debut at this years tournament, when ‘The Potters’ will be one of five English Premier League clubs participating.

West Ham United, boasting one of England’s most successful academies, will compete for the first time since 2012, while five-time champions Aston Villa and recent winners Newcastle United and Leicester City return from last year’s 16-team Main competition.

Villa (2011), Newcastle (2012) and Leicester (2013) have won three of the last four editions of the international seven-a-side-tournament, which each year includes youth teams from Premier League clubs.

Tony Bratsanos, Chairman of the Soccer Sevens Organising Committee, said: “The Soccer Sevens has always had a strong presence from the Premier League, so we’re delighted that Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Leicester City are continuing their participation and will be bidding to lift the Cup again. We’re excited that West Ham will be coming back after a brief break, as they were a very popular side when they played here, and we’re also proud that we were able to secure Stoke City for their tournament debut. Stoke are enjoying a fine season and will be a welcome addition to the Main competition.”

English clubs have won 10 of the 15 editions of the tournament since its inauguration in 1999. Aston Villa have won a record five times (2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010), while Blackburn Rovers (1999), Arsenal (2001), Newcastle (2012), Leicester (2013) and Manchester City (2014) are the other English clubs to have lifted the Cup.

Hong Kong clubs Kitchee (2011) and Instant Dict (2000), Japan’s Urawa Reds (2005, 2006) and Scottish giants Celtic (2009) are the tournament’s only non-English champions.

The remaining sides in this year’s 16-team Main competition and teams competing in the over-35 Masters tournament will be confirmed soon.

Future stars who have competed in the Main competition include Gabby Agbonlahor, Glen Johnson, Marc Albrighton, David Bentley, Anton Ferdinand, Sammy Ameobi, Shaun Maloney, Jack Grealish and Rolando Aarons.

The Masters tournament has featured former England internationals Peter Beardsley, John Barnes, Chris Waddle, Teddy Sheringham, Des Walker, Andy Cole and Matt Le Tissier, German legends Jurgen Klinsmann and Pierre Littbarski, Finnish icon Jari Litmanen, Dutch great Aron Winter and former France winger Didier Six.

Soccer Sevens
When: 29-31 May, 2015
Where: HK Football Club
Tickets: HK$160 per day or HK$300 for a two-day pass

Image: Atletico Madrid

International Soccer Sevens 24-26th May 2013

International Soccer Sevens 24-26th May 2013
While Football Sevens doesn’t roll quite so smoothly off the tongue, the beautiful game has firmly embraced the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens, which returns this weekend to once again display future talent and past greats in another giddy amalgamation of sport and entertainment.
What started as bit of end-of-season fun fourteen years ago has evolved into a fiercely competitive tournament. Stars of the future play in anonymity and stars of the past showcase in person the silky skills admired and cheered from afar.
This year again sees both local and international, UK giants like Manchester City, defending champions Newcastle United and Glasgow Rangers will all be in attendance competing for silverware and a year of solid bragging rights. While local clubs including the HKFA Dragons, Kowloon Cricket Club and a Yau Yee League select will be looking for their moment in the sun with victories against a big name.
Taking place over 3 days, the action is spread between two separate tournaments. The main event sees 16 teams putting forth their best and brightest to fight it out with just enough good nature to keep the event family-friendly (though some obligatory ear-covering may be necessary). While in the Masters section there’s the unique opportunity to see some of the games legends up-close and personal. Still operating with the kind of skill and command of the game that you would expect from past greats such as Teddy Sheringham, Arthur Numan, Jari Litmanen, Darren Anderton, Peter Beardsley, and Aron Vinter, (ignoring the fact that a few shirt sizes may have been upgraded) it’s thrilling and competitive soccer and a true testament to the draw the event has.
If football’s not your thing or the kids need a breather there’s a family fun zone filled with all kinds of games, entertainment and other brightly-coloured whimsy to keep the little ones happy.
The first match kicks off at 7pm on Friday 24th May, with the final at 7pm Sunday 26th May

What: Soccer Sevens
When: 24-26 May, 2013 – Friday: 7pm start, Saturday: 9am start, Sunday: 8am start
Where: HK Football Club
How much: Friday: Free, Saturday, Sunday: $160/day, Weekend pass $300
Enquiries: www.hksoccersevens.com

Soccer Sevens 2013

Soccer Sevens

Soccer Sevens
Date: 26-28 May, 2017
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: $300 (Weekend pass), $160 (Day ticket), Free (Friday night) from Ticketflap
More info:
26 May (Fri): 6 – 9pm; exhibition youth matches start at 4.45pm
27 May (Sat): 9am – 7.40pm
28 May (Sun): 9am – 6pm