What do you get when you put together a bunch of football-loving young boys? The Harvest Kidz Cup, that’s what.
By Amanda Jayne Lee
On a humid Wednesday afternoon, in a space along Jalan Banaan Kepal by the Kallang River, 45 boys aged between 7 to 12 were battling it out to win the Harvest Kidz Cup 2012.
It was a hot and humid Dec. 5, but the eight teams were having the time of their lives.
Held at The Cage, the competition—the first of its sort—started when the teachers in City Harvest Children’s Church saw how much the boys loved the sports. “The Harvest Kidz Cup is an avenue for them to play football, something for them to do during the holidays,” said Seah Eng Wee, a teacher from CCH.
Besides keeping the children busy, the competition also served to create bonds between the boys. Many of them were teamed with other boys they didn’t know.
Glen Yeow, 12, the captain of the team called Bros United, said, “I called one of my friends (to join my team), then he called his friend, and our team just got bigger.” They had only met each other the day before the match but became fast friends. Even after the match, the team members made plans to meet up and play soccer.
The game turned out to be a family affair too. Nitro Strikers, a team made up of children whose parents come from the same cell group, had been playing soccer for a long time. “The children play soccer while we are having cell group meetings, so when this competition came about, we decided to let them form a team,” said Christina Chong, a homemaker and mother of Nitro Strikers team members, Jonathan and Ethan Lee.
Not only were moms and dads spotted at the futsal stadium, an elderly man sitting on a wheelchair was also following the progress of the Nitro Strikers closely. “He is the grandfather of two boys in the team,” Chong explained. “He has terminal cancer, but he specially came to watch his grandsons play.”
The Nitro Strikers even had their own jersey: blue and yellow with an “N” emblazoned across the front of the shirt. These were specially made by the parents. “They are definitely hoping to win,” said Chong, “but for us Moms and Dads, we just want them to have a good time and gain exposure.”
It was hard, however, for the mothers to contain their excitement. At one point, one father shouted, “Calm down! Calm down! Calm down!” at some over-excited mothers cheering their boys on.
“It’s a day out with him, and it’s something fun and healthy to do together,” said Tarn Ling, a marketing manager, who took leave to watch her son Isaac Tan, 8, play for the Diamond Diggers. Her reward came when the Diamond Diggers came in second.
The Golden Rangers, who also came in custom-made jerseys, entered the Cup with victory in their minds. “We want to win our first trophy for the Golden Rangers,” said co-captain Joshua Ho, 11, confidently. Ho, an avid soccer player, can often be found in church kicking a ball around before and after service with his friends. They take the game seriously, and much thought went into naming their team. “Golden means powerful, strong and pure; rangers represents, not power rangers, but forest rangers,” Ho explained, pointing to his shirt. “Pure, courageous and strong.” Despite an earlier foot injury, Ho and the Golden Rangers managed to qualify for semi-finals. “I’ll be the happiest man in the world if we win,” said Jerome Choong, 11, the co-captain.
At the end of the day, team Bros United walked off with the first Harvest Kidz Cup 2012 trophy, while Diamond Diggers came in second and the Golden Rangers A team was third. To those boys in the Cage, this was practically the World Cup.