News HFCA girls meet Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke at Asia's biggest youth football tournament in Singapore

The JSSL Singapore Professional Academy 7s is Asia's Premier Youth Football competition & the 2023 edition saw exciting talent from 400 teams competing from 15 Nations in 16 different age categories with over 5,600 youth players competing.

Our team was delighted to meet Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke in Singapore. Yorke won the treble of UEFA Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup with Manchester United in 1998/1999 season and played over 350 games in the Premier League.

"Dwight Yorke was so friendly to our team and he is a wonderful example to all youth that hard work and commitment is vital to be successful in life, on and off the pitch." Paraic Grogan, Founder HFCA

Our team at Phnom Penh airport before flying to Singapore. Image Sovatha Long

The twelve players selected all come from underprivileged backgrounds and from our NGO partner Cambodian Children's Fund and they were the 1st members of their families to fly overseas. Chantou Chum (aged 14) shared her thoughts on her 1st flight "I was very happy when I first got on the airplane. When the airplane departed and we began to fly up, I felt nervous, but then I was fine and enjoyed it" and she enjoyed seeing Singapore "What I loved about Singapore was the nature. I liked the fresh air and how green it was. It was really clean, we didn’t see any plastic or trash''

HFCA team enjoying the sights of Singapore. Image Sovatha Long

"My first impression of Singapore was that it was a safe city with good transportation. It was very beautiful. I was excited to see how natural it was, green with fresh air'' said player Chanthim Lom (aged 13) "It was very different compared to Cambodia. When you travel here, you see a lot of trash, but in Singapore I noticed there was no trash, it was very clean with no dust"

HFCA team with Coach Sovatha Long before the match against Beach Hut FC from the Philippines. Image P Grogan

HFCA's Under 16 girls team were honoured to compete at JSSL 7's playing a total of eight matches over three days. The football standard was very high as HFCA played very good teams from Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Chantou Chum enjoyed the challenge ''I learned about time management and how to be confident and strong. At first, I was a bit nervous when I looked at the other players because they were bigger and taller, but then I felt confident and strong enough to compete against the other teams"

As did her teammate Chanthim Lom "Even though the other teams were stronger and bigger, I had a lot of energy to compete with them. I learned how we had to play as a group to help each other in the hardest time"

HFCA team in action (white jersey red stripe) against Singaporean team and giving it their all. Image P Grogan.

HFCA uses football as a tool to build confidence and personal development in underprivileged youth and both girls gained a lot from their 1st trip overseas and 1st professional football tournament.

"It will help build my football ability and skills. It was good to see our ability level, where we stand" said Chanthou Chum "and how other countries compared to us, and how we can improve. We could see our progress between teams and against other countries."

Chanthim Lom also shared her teammates' thoughts "It was good for me to learn about discipline and teamwork. Seeing another country was learning for me too. I saw how another city had developed and how the people lived"

Team with the medals for participation at end of the JSSL 7's tournament at Our Tampines Hub stadium. Image P Grogan

"Having the team from HFCA compete in the Girls 16’s category was great for the tournament having the 1st girls team from Cambodia. I am sure it was a tremendous experience for the girls that came to Singapore and we are looking forward to them returning in 2024" Harvey Davis, JSSL 7's Founder