WISE is launching a new series to spotlight women’s sports team in Hong Kong! This series is not about the individual players, but about the team. What makes the team fun? Why do people like to be part of the team? Belonging, inclusion, support … there’s so much we gain from being part of a community. We believe in the power of sharing and learning about and from each other. We hope this series will serve as a little inspiration as we go about building our community in HK. Does your team want to be spotlighted? You can submit your details!
This article is written by Ailenemae. Ailenemae works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong since 2010 and is also an author and writer. She is a mentor and team leader for Uplifters as well as Ambassador for Pathfinders. Recently she wrote a book, Beyond The Sunset, a collection of poems about the stories of migrant domestic workers, and is a co-founder of Migrant Writers of Hong Kong, a group of unique and talented migrant writers. For this article, she spoke with Septira Taruna who is one of the founding members of the team
Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) is the governing body for football in Hong Kong.
Who is Hong Kong United?
Hong Kong United is an 18-member women’s football team that formed in November 2020. The team was started with 8 members who joined with their passion for football. They all met through Women’s Social Football program run by MLFA, via social football initiative started by Kerri Coombs and Cissy Radford (former Program and Community Manager at WISE!).
Over time, as they met weekly for an hour each practice, they started getting to know each other better. One and a half years later, they love each other’s company. From being strangers, they have built a good foundation of more than friendship, they are a family. In June 2021 they formally registered as Division 2 football team. Most members had never played 11-on-11, so you can say that they started from scratch. Despite that, they are currently sitting mid table in the league … Pretty good!! They played five games in total before the COVID-19 pandemic measures were brought in earlier in 2022.
The Pareto Principle also applies to the formation of our team playlist, where 20% of people contributed to 80% of the songs. So what we end up with is a playlist that will take you back mainly to the early 00s, and occasionally to the 80s. The first song ever added was Toxic, who we can all agree is the best Britney song.Septira on what songs are on the teams playlist
The women on Hong Kong United come from different fields, teachers, consultants, managers, employees in different companies. They have different perspectives on life, different schedules concerning their work, but because of their hobbies, they enjoy playing with each other for fun, and work very hard to make the team stronger as they continue their journey in their chosen sports world.
Having fun as a team
What makes Hong Kong United unique aside from good camaraderie, is the way they treat each other, how creative they are to deal with everything, and how they can all learn different styles and practices. They have a kind and supportive coach who allows them to grow productively, gives everyone direction to follow and allows them to enjoy as much as they can, which is the most important part of every team.
There is no specific criteria for accepting new members to join them. Hong Kong United is always open to new members joining their growing team, as long as this person has a passion for the sport, and is self motivated. Everyone is welcome, they just need to fill up the form for the MLFA to review. Some people are more invested in the team than others, and that’s fine and works well because they accept anyone regardless of interest or level of ability. They simply want to share the joy that is the game of football to other women who are looking to find a safe space to play, and that in itself allows for the great team dynamic they have.”
We make bets with our coach.
– Win our first game, we shave his beard
– Get a clean sheet, we have his eyebrows.
(He’s pretty happy with the interrupted season)Septira on what makes team practices fun
They have a lot of fun stories and experiences that they believe help them grow both individually and as a team. The most memorable moment for them being Poker Night. This experience gives them a lot of fun, and while some people will win and some will lose, they learn a lot, including acceptance without hurt feelings, and to encourage everyone to keep going and enjoy the game to the fullest while they still can.
Aside from playing football, some members of the team likes to play softball, basketball and other sports. Their biggest wish is to play a match with the US Women National team or the Chelsea Women team from England; these 2 teams inspire them a lot, and comprise members who are their idols.
“Teamwork makes the dream work!” Football means teamwork, vitality, and energy like no other sport. It is a physical game that requires everyone’s work together toward a common goal. Enjoy the journey and make everyone’s life meaningful by fulfilling their passion happily and productively.
Beach trips, hikes, drinks, runs, more football, cycle until our butts hurt, poker nights, karaoke, house parties. One would say that we’re a social group that sometimes plays football.Septira on what team socials can consist of
Read our interviews from 2020 and before!
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