The Santa Clara Sporting Club was honored to welcome the Beijing Sangao U17 Soccer Team from China last weekend at the 2010 Santa Clara Sporting Invitational Tournament held from August 6th-8th. It took over a year of planning, and some monumental efforts to bring the team to the 7th Annual Tournament. The entire club at Santa Clara Sporting would like to deeply express it’s gratitude to Dr. Kam Wong and Mr. Ning for their effort and support to bring the team to our event. It took Dr. Wong a year of planning to bring the team to Santa Clara. The idea started last summer when Kam sent his son Corbertt to Beijing, to learn some Mandarin and play soccer. Kam was looking for a soccer club in Beijing, when he discovered the Sangao Soccer Club and enrolled his son in their program. Kam Wong discovered that the Sangao Club sent their U17 and U18 teams to the United States to compete in the Dallas Cup Tournament, and it was Dr. Wong who recommended the club to send their team to the Santa Clara Sporting Invitational Tournament.
The Beijing Sangao Team is a high school academy team and member of the Chinese School Football Association. The all-boys school is a special soccer academy that selects students from the Beijing area that are both excellent academic scholars and soccer players. The academy is also one of a few feeder schools for the Peoples Republic University in China. These select players were chosen from thousands of student soccer players, and attend the school and live in a dormatory away from home.
The team arrived on Monday, August 2nd, and trained in the Bay Area prior to competing in the Sporting Tournament last weekend. On Friday night, the Beijing Sangao Team played their second bracket game against the Santa Clara Sporting ’92 Team coached by Carlos Brasil. Prior to the match, both teams exchanged gifts between players and coaches, then proceeded with an International walk-on before starting the game. The team played well but struggled to fight jet lag during the week, and were not used to playing two games in one day. Back in China, soccer teams are only allowed to play one game per day. Mr. Gao, the team coach, went through his own ordeal to travel to the United States. Coach Gao’s original request for a passport visa was rejected and it looked like he would not be able to attend the trip. Then he took an 8-hour train ride to a neighboring city to apply again, and was accepted to travel to California. By the time he arrived on Saturday, Coach Gao was able to coach the team’s 3rd bracket game against the Eastside FC 92 Team from Washington.
Ms. Li Liang Jiang presents Abel Azevedo with a gift before the soccer match between the Santa Clara Sporting ’92 Team and the Beijing Sangao Team from China. Dr. Kam Wong (wearing the Barcelona jacket) and Coach Ning were instrumental in bringing the team to the Santa Clara Sporting Invitational.
Interview with the team captain from Beijing Sangao
On Sunday night, Santa Clara Sporting hosted a good-old BBQ dinner with the team. Santa Clara Sporting and Beijing Sangao made plans to host the Chinese teams every year, and the Beijing Team extended an invitation for Santa Clara Sporting teams to travel to China to compete.
Reception dinner for the Beijing Sangao Team at the Santa Clara Sporting club house
Santa Clara Sporting would like to thank Dr. Kam Wong, Mr. Ning, Coach Gao, and Ms. Li Liang Jiang for their efforts to bring the team to our tournament. We would also like to thank Danny Williams at the Marriott Hotel for his support to host the team.