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Kicking Off: How to Play Football in Hong Kong

It may come as a surprise to some, but football is one of – if not the – most popular sports in Hong Kong. You’ll be hard-pressed to walk through any of the city’s districts without coming across at least a few fully-equipped pitches open for public use. This as well as many council-maintained pitches, which are easily booked through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) for a nominal fee.

There are a dizzying array of Hong Kong clubs, covering all skill levels and entry requirements, with endless fan clubs, events, arenas, and pitches – both indoor and outdoor – built for 5, 7, and 11-a-side games. Basically, Hong Kong is football mad. So, whether you’re new in town or a local who’s dying for a game, with our starter’s guide to playing football in Hong Kong, you’ll be out on the pitch in no time.


Casual Matches

If you don’t have time to commit to an amateur or semi-pro/pro outfit and just want to jump into the odd game without too much fuss, there are plenty of options.

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Casual Football Network

It’s all in the name! Casual Football Network, which has been running since 2009, is a website that organises at least three casual games every week. All you need to do is sign up, have a look at the upcoming games, and click on the events that you want to participate in. Places in each game are first-come-first-served, but it’s rare that you’ll find yourself without at least a couple of options. The website outlines some pretty strict rules on conduct, language, and behaviour, but speaking from experience, expect to get your feelings hurt if you tell everyone you’re better than you actually are!

Where: Happy Valley and Sheung Wan
How much: Weekdays, $30 – $60; Saturday, $30; Sunday, $60

Power Soccer

If you already have a squad of friends ready to go, then why not start your own team? Cringey name and football strip left to your discretion, of course. For a reasonable fee, you and four friends can sign up to Power Soccer, one of the most exceptionally organised leagues in Hong Kong, for weekly indoor games. You’ll also be invited to loads of events throughout the season, culminating in the famously messy end-of-season awards ceremony. Power Soccer definitely succeeds in marrying the competitive and social elements of the beautiful game – with photos and player-voted ‘awards’ (your name on the website – it’s better than it sounds) uploaded to the site after every match.

Where: Aberdeen, Kowloon Bay, and Pok Fu Lam
How much:
$2,000 per registered team

Geoexpat and Asiaxpat

If the first two options still seem like too much hassle, websites like geoexpat and asiaxpat both have really active footballing memberships. Just jump on and see who’s looking for players, or start your own thread to drum up a game in your area – no fees, no signup, no worries.


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Amateur Teams

Like basically every other facet of Hong Kong football, the amateur side of the game is welcoming and meticulously organised, with the Yau Yee League running the show in what is no doubt the biggest (and arguably the best) amateur league in the city. It’s a massive scene, with 47 teams competing over four divisions, and various cups and competitions. All this, while maintaining a more social, inclusive nature that seems to outwardly fly in the face of the occasionally stuffy and bureaucratic Hong Kong Football Association.

It can be a bit overwhelming being on the outside looking in, so listed below are some of the more popular clubs, which are easily contactable if you fancy throwing your hat into the ring (it’s kind of a sports metaphor, so it works). Bear in mind that many of these clubs have several teams competing in a litany of leagues catered to different abilities, so even if you don’t feel like you’re ready for the Yau Yee League, there will be another avenue for you to lace up your boots and get involved.

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Wanchai Spartans FC

With teams competing in seven different competitions across several formats (not to mention frequent tours across Southeast Asia), Wanchai Spartans FC have become a mainstay in the amateur scene since their inception in 1991. Players have built a reputation for their competitiveness on the pitch (and at the bar), while always making sure that fun is the number one priority.

Entry to the club is usually subject to a trial, but there are no restrictions on who can apply (although the majority of players are English speaking). This is the ideal club for someone looking to play competitive football and make new friends, without an over-abundance of pressure.

Training: Wednesday, (9pm)
Where: King’s Park Sports Ground, 11 Wylie Path, Ho Man Tin

French Dragons FC

Are you French? Do you like football? Well, French Dragons FC is the team for you. Yes, generally only accept French speakers are accepted, but this makes the Dragons something of an amazing, pseudo community ‘hub’ for those feeling homesick and seeking Gallic fraternity. So, what about the football? With no less than 24 titles across nine different leagues and championships, the Dragons are the most successful in Hong Kong’s amateur football history! They’re always on the lookout for new players to join, so if that’s you, get in touch.

Training: Weekly
Where: Locations vary

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Club Atlético Boca Seniors

Having recently been relegated to the second division of the Yau Yee Amateur Football League, the Club Atlético Boca Seniors are planning a comeback. Could this be your calling? This well-respected team has been on the go for almost 20 years, priding itself on a solid work ethic and a well-established social scene. Playing their games on Sundays at King’s Park in Yau Ma Tei, Boca Seniors are a well-oiled, streamlined side, but always on the lookout for new talent! Plus, with a motto like “win or lose, we booze!”, you know you’re in for a good time.

Training: Thursday, (9pm)
Where: King’s Park Sports Ground, 11 Wylie Path, Ho Man Tin

Hong Kong Squadron and Hearts Football Club

These two sister clubs have been tearing up the amateur scene with their legendary social antics since the 1970s. Over the years, Hong Kong Squadron and Hearts Football Club have become famous for junk trips, parties, overseas tours, and post-game madness at their sponsor bar, Amici in Wan Chai. They also play football sometimes. Clearly though, the aim is to have fun and enjoy a unique sense of camaraderie, with football serving as the glue that holds it all together.

Training: Tuesday, (9pm)
Where: King’s Park Sports Ground, 11 Wylie Path, Ho Man Tin

Yau Yee Amateur Football League: Transfer Market

If you’re struggling to find a club by approaching them directly, then the Yau Yee League has a surprisingly intuitive online Transfer Market. Here you can flaunt your wares and hope to get picked up by a club who’s short on plucky talent (that’s you).


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Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC)

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It would be somewhat disingenuous to have any kind of football article without mentioning this behemoth. Although Hong Kong Football Club as a whole represents a litany of sports, from lawn bowls to ten pin bowling, the footballing arm of proceedings is among the finest – facilities and training wise – in southeast Asia. If you’re looking to join up, then you had better have some skills, as HKFC plays in Hong Kong’s Premier League, taking on some of the best teams around. Open trials are held pre-season every September – good luck.


Women’s Football

Ladies football is very much alive and kicking in Hong Kong. It’s been a struggle for the girls to achieve the same deserved recognition and support as the men, but this burgeoning scene is starting to blossom. The HKFC ladies team is definitely the gold standard if you’re serious about playing at a high level, but there are some great amateur teams in the city too, which are always on the lookout for new players! And a great place to start would be …

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Goodbellas

Formed back in 2009, the Bellas have been going from strength to strength, and exude an inviting warmth in how they go about running the club. Goodbellas main focus is on inclusion and improvement season over season, with a large squad spanning all nationalities, backgrounds, and skill levels. With teams in the HKFA League, the HKLFA 7’s League, a spring league, and an indoor 5’s league, as well as many friendlies and various competitions throughout the year (both in Hong Kong and Asia), they offer something for players of all levels. Unlike the occasionally cliquey men’s teams (sorry guys), the Bellas happily welcome all female footballers to join the fun, whether you’re striving for the competitive first team or just fancy a friendly kick about!


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