Academy relishing return to Hong Kong

The Academy will take part in the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens 2016
West Ham United are delighted to announce that a select group of Academy players will take part in the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens 2016 tournament.

Having got to the final in last year’s competition, losing narrowly to Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, the Hammers will be aiming to go one step further this time round.

Speaking ahead of the prestigious event, which takes place between 20-22 May, Academy coach Mark Phillips said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been invited back to compete in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament.

“It is an absolutely fantastic competition to play in; from experience it is one of the best organised events I’ve ever participated in.

“Despite not winning the tournament last year, we came close, and everyone, the staff, the players really enjoyed it and got a lot out of the experience.”

Alongside West Ham, fellow English sides Leicester City, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Stoke City will also be competing in the 16-team international tournament while defending champions Atletico, New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix and Japan’s Kashima Antlers will also be present.

Last year, the Hammers’ squad included the likes of Djair Parfitt-Williams and Marcus Browne, both of whom have gone on to be included in the first team.

And while this year’s squad is yet to be announced, Phillips is looking to take an even stronger squad.
He continued: “The tournament is over two months away so we haven’t finalised the squad list yet, however it’ll be the strongest team we have available.

“It’s a great learning curve for everyone involved, but make no mistakes, we want to win it, that’s our aim and I firmly believe we can do it. If we do well, to get the international recognition will be fantastic for the Academy and Club as a whole.”