The Road to Professional Football – Perry Ko YCIS Hong Kong '16
David Beckham, one of the most talented football players is a role model for many of us; Perry is no exception. Though not a lot of us have what it takes to become a professional football player, Perry has his first step into the professional league, and he hopes to take sports to a whole new level and to bring more awareness of sports to Hong Kong!
From Interests to Professional
Perry graduated from YCIS Hong Kong in 2016, and will be pursuing his postgraduate programme in University of Warwick next year in Sports Management. Like most teenage boys, Perry has a lot of energy in his body, and he releases them through sports. Football being one of his favourite sports has now become his career when he signed his first professional contract at the age of 16.
People often think that sports could distract students from academics endeavour and should only be treated as an interest, but it wasn’t the case for Perry. Football was definitely the best way for him to release all the stress from IB study. And look at him now: he is potentially the next football star in Hong Kong!
“Being a professional football player was my childhood dream,” said Perry. He was fortunate to have a chance to sign his first professional contract during Year 12. Though it is for sure quite tough to balance between professional football and IB, Perry quickly realised the importance in time management. Being young and new to the team, he wasn’t featured in the team a lot which he felt lucky to have time for his study.
“Personally, my professional debut was the most meaningful game I’ve ever played! I’ll never get bored telling this story to people. It was in 2016 when we were playing against the Hong Kong Premier League Champion, Kitchee in a cup game. As a sub, I wasn’t expecting much, until coach shouted my name while I was warming-up at the sideline. I knew this was my chance to shine, and despite all the predictions against us, we won the game by 2-0!”
Being a good player to Perry does not necessarily means how talented you are or how much skills you have; these features can be improved through trainings. Being able to accept criticism and “coachable” is what took Perry to this level today. It might sound easy to listen and follow coaches’ instructions, but to really execute them is harder than you think. You’ll always need to be open for new things and willing to learn from everyone, even your opponents.
“I remember David Beckham once said ‘The secret to my success is practice.’” People may know David for his skillful freekicks, but to Perry, it is David’s attitude on and off the pitch that influenced him. As a player, David was very committed and passionate to his role and this is exactly what Perry is trying to achieve.
Perry’s Words about Sports
Perry wants to inspire and encourage more people in Hong Kong to participate in sport activities and increase the awareness of sports in Hong Kong!
“I felt like there’s a lack of awareness of sports in Hong Kong,” said Perry. You don’t need to be good to play. Sports or physical activities are essential to us for many reasons. It is entertaining but most importantly keeps you healthy. Many people think that sports are only for professionals, but the truth is, physical activities can reduce risks such as heart attack and obesity. So, in order to gain more knowledge and explore in depth about sports, Perry decided to pursue a degree in Sports Management.
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle through sports, but not a lot of people can continue doing sports. Perry suggested we set targets, which can be anything from losing weight, gaining muscle to releasing stress. Don’t be scared of failure; it is a step by step process and it will definitely take time, so setting targets will keep you motivated and hopefully help you continue doing sports!
“As a player, I hope to play in a foreign country. I realised it is very different from playing in Hong Kong while I was in university. The standards are higher, and the competitions are greater, so it is definitely the best way to improve myself! But as a person, I want to become a role model to children, inspire them to play sports and help them develop the good habit while they are young. I also want to change the image of sports, and tell everyone that sports aren’t just for professionals, and it certainly doesn’t affect study. I want to promote the benefits of sports and hopefully can see a bigger impact on people’s lifestyle made by sports!”
Sports management on the other hand gave Perry a better understanding towards sports. Perry said,“A team doesn’t only involve players and the coach, but in fact, there are hundreds of other people such as medic, trainers, nutritionists, etc. to support the team!” Spotlights are given to players and coaches, but the credit goes to the whole team including all backstage workers. Perry certainly improved in skills while he was in UK, and these knowledges he learntand saw gave him a broader vision towards sports and will definitely help him achieve his goal not only in becoming a more skillful professional, but also an icon and an inspiration!
In the future after graduating from college, Perry will continue his professional journey in Hong Kong, but it certainly does not end here. “Realistically speaking, I hope to play in China’s league or a lower division intheUK.While accepting training to become a professional player, I will also start promoting the importance of sports in Hong Kong. Maybe starting with Yew Chung, through the alumni network I can come back and talk to the students and share my thoughts to them. It will be my first step in becoming an inspiration!”
Step by step, Perry is moving closer towards his childhood dream and his role model David Beckham. We don’t need to be like Perry to play in the professional league but just like what he said, we need to start increasing the awareness ofsports, and become a better self in the future! Let’s wish Perry all the best and maybe one day, we will be able to see him in the Premier League!