Aston Villa setting sights on seventh title as HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens returns
阿士東維拉教練Dan Green將率領球隊於5月26日到香港足球會出戰，並以七度衛冕冠軍為目標。這是七人賽自 2019 年因新冠疫情而被迫暫停以來的首次比賽。
曾代表阿士東維拉的艾邦拉荷（Gabriel Agbonlahor）和班倫（Barry Bannan）曾分別於2006年及2008年獲封為七人賽的最佳球員。而今年比賽教練Dan Green亦會派出忠心英國足球迷或會認識的球員。
「其中一些球迷可能會認識的球員包括Josh Feeney、Omari Kellyman、Travis Patterson、Tommi O'Reilly及Kadan Young，這將會是他們首次代表球隊出賽，希望他們可以一如歷屆代表阿士東維拉出戰的球員一樣，踢出高水平的球賽。」
白禮頓21歲以下組別主教練Shannon Ruth說：「我們期待參與此賽事，對一眾年輕球員來說，這無疑是一趟人生體驗。我們渴望在此賽事取得好成績，以理想成績為賽季作結。我們希望球員會有所不同的體驗，並能看到他們如何適應比賽中所有截然不同的環境及條件。比賽規則、球場大小以及香港炎熱潮濕的天氣，所有因素造就成一場獨一無二的比賽。 我們希望能為球員帶來挑戰。有些球員未曾去過香港，沒有體驗過不同的文化，而這比賽肯定是教人難忘的經歷。」
名人賽（元老賽）將於 5 月 26 日在體育路拉開戰幕，花旗銀行明星隊希望可於禾辛特男童會（Wallsend Boys Club Hong Kong）手上奪回冠軍頭銜， 2019年花旗銀行明星隊於決賽上不敵禾辛特男童會而未能稱霸。
名人隊成員由英格蘭職業足球運動員協會（PFA）選出，並組成PFA花旗名人隊，隊員包括托定咸熱刺足球前右衛Pascal Chimbonda及於1997年代表李斯特城並贏得銀盃的Jamie Lawrence，前富咸中場桑恩戴維斯（Sean Davis）則將擔任PFA花旗名人隊隊長。
HONG KONG, 22 May 2023 – Six times champions Aston Villa will travel to Hong Kong for the 2023 edition of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens looking to reclaim the title the club last won in 2016 while showcasing the latest crop of youngsters to emerge from one of the Premier League’s finest academies.
Coach Dan Green will bring his squad to Hong Kong Football Club targeting the Villa Park outfit’s seventh title as the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens returns on May 26 for the first time since 2019 following an enforced hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Villa have been drawn in Group A alongside Scottish Premiership side Rangers, runners-up the last time the event was held, as well as Tai Po FC and Yau Yee League Select and Green is relishing the opportunity to take to the field at Sports Road once again.
“The reputation of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens and the experiences that we as a club have had in the past create great excitement for the competition and the opportunities that it provides,” says Green.
“We are constantly looking to stretch and challenge our players and this tournament certainly provides a high quality and varied set of challenges.
“From the opposition and format to the conditions and fans in the stadium, we feel this is an outstanding way to round off this season with an experience that we hope the players will look back on with great memories.”
Aston Villa have a history of fielding future Premier League stars among their line-up at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, with current Manchester City forward Jack Grealish among those to have starred for the club at the event in the past.
Others to have graduated to the senior side include Gabriel Agbonlahor and Barry Bannan, who were named the Player of the Tournament in 2006 and 2008 respectively, and Green will be fielding a side that features players avid English football watchers will recognise.
“We would love to think that all of our players will bring excitement to the fans watching,” he says.
“Some that they may have heard of from their first team involvement would be the likes of Josh Feeney, Omari Kellyman, Travis Patterson, Tommi O'Reilly and Kadan Young, who will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous Aston Villa players who have come to the tournament and performed to a high level.”
Newcastle United are the reigning HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens champions and they will face former winners Leicester City in Group C alongside Hong Kong Football Club and the HKFC Captain’s Select.
Group B, meanwhile, features Fulham, Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee, MUST CPK and Singapore Football Club and the line-up for the Main Event is completed by Brighton & Hove Albion, Queens Park Rangers, Hong Kong, China U22 Representative Team and Singapore Cricket Club, who will face off in Group D.
“We’re looking forward to going out there, it’s certainly a life experience for the boys,” says Brighton’s under 21 head coach Shannon Ruth. “It’s a tournament we’re eager to do well in, it finishes our season off in a positive way.
“We’re looking to see the players experience something different, seeing how they adapt to the conditions and all the different things that are thrown their way by this tournament.
“It’s a unique tournament in terms of the regulations, the size of the pitch and all the things that come with playing in Hong Kong in the heat and humidity. We’re looking to challenge the players.
“Some of these players wouldn’t have travelled to Hong Kong before and experienced a different culture and that’s certainly an experience you don’t forget.”
The Masters Tournament will kick off proceedings at Sports Road on May 26, with the Citi All Stars looking to reclaim the title in that event after losing out in the 2019 final to Wallsend Boys Club.
Former Fulham midfielder Sean Davis will captain a team selected by the Professional Footballers’ Association that also features ex-Tottenham Hotspur right-back Pascal Chimbonda and Jamie Lawrence, a League Cup winner with Leicester City in 1997.
Play in the Main Event will begin on May 27 with matches running throughout until May 28.
Tickets for the event will be available at zicket.co with free entry for all on Friday 26 May and free entry for children under 16 years old all weekend. Single day tickets cost HKD$120 and weekend passes are HKD$200.
Information and Photo source : HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens