Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion will make their debut appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens at Hong Kong Football Club when the annual tournament kicks off on May 18.
Brighton will be joined by fellow Premier League clubs Newcastle United and West Ham United at the three-day long event, ensuring five English clubs are represented when this year’s draw takes place on April 17.
“We are delighted to announce three more teams from the English Premier League for the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens for 2018, and we are particularly excited to announce a debutant for this year’s event,” says tournament director Chris Plowman.
“Premier League newcomers Brighton and Hove Albion will be making their first appearance at the event, it will be great to see the Seagulls fly at Sports Road in May.
“Meanwhile, West Ham United will be returning to see if they can claim their first title having gone deep into previous tournaments, and we also welcome back 2012 Champions Newcastle United after a one-year break.”
Brighton, Newcastle United and West Ham United join defending champions Leicester City and last year’s runners-up Aston Villa in committing to the event, which will feature 16 clubs from around the world.
“Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club are honoured to be invited to the prestigious HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens,” says the club’s academy manager John Morling. “All the staff and players are looking forward to coming to what will be a brilliant experience both on and off the pitch.
“We are looking forward to a totally different experience playing Sevens against some of the world’s best teams, which will benefit our players’ development in their ambition to become senior professional footballers in the Premier League.”
Newcastle United missed the 2017 HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens having previously won the title in 2012 and finished as runners-up in 2013.
“We are delighted to once again be invited to participate in the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens,” says Newcastle United’s Professional Development Phase Coach Ben Dawson.
“It is a great addition to our games programme and provides our players with a fantastic opportunity to test themselves against a wide range of opponents in difficult conditions given the heat, humidity and format of play.
“In previous years we have competed well to get to the latter stages of the competition and are obviously hoping that this year we can go even further.”
West Ham United, meanwhile, have an impressive track record, reaching the final in both 2015 and 2016 before defeating Cagliari Calcio 2-0 in the final of Shield competition.
“Having been losing finalists on two occasions and Shield winners from last year, it is always a hugely enjoyable week for both players and staff alike,” says West Ham United academy manager Mark Phillips.
“The HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens is a well-run event and we’ve struck up some great friendships during our previous trips with several members of the Hong Kong Football Club and we’re looking forward to our return in May.”
The 2018 Hong Kong Citi Soccer Sevens will be the 19th edition of the event held at Hong Kong Football Club in Happy Valley, with 16 teams featuring some of the finest young talent from around the world due to participate in the main event.
Ten teams will also compete in the Masters tournament, which has in the past attracted former stars such as ex-Liverpool and Ajax Amsterdam playmaker Jari Litmanen, former England and Nottingham Forest defender Des Walker as well as ex-England goalkeeper David James.