Fri, May 25, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Taichung to play host to the nation’s expat soccer teams

By Allan Cooke  /  Contributing reporter

The Taichung Football Association in Chaoma Road is set to come alive with the sounds of soccer this weekend as 16 expat teams take to the pitch in an attempt to become champions of Taiwan.

The inaugural Londoner Scunners Spring Invitational Cup sees teams traveling to Taichung from all of Taiwan’s major cities, such as current champions Massive FC of Kaohsiung. Winning the previous tournament, coincidentally held in Kaohsiung, Massive expect serious competition from other teams looking to steal their crown.

No less than 10 of the teams are making the journey from their bases in Taipei to spend the weekend in Taiwan’s central city vying for a spot in the tournament’s prestigious Cup final.

That being said, the tournament is not just about finding the single most outstanding team, and when the teams finish competing tomorrow they are allocated a spot in one of four trophy competitions on Sunday.

The aforementioned Cup competition is the most hotly sought-after prize, while there will also be Plate, Boot and Spoon competitions so that the less technically gifted teams have a chance to lift some silverware on Sunday evening.

Tournament organizer and Londoner Scunners FC manager Allan Cooke is very excited about the prospect of his team hosting the tournament for the first time.

“I have played for the Londoner Scunners for over four years now and while we haven’t lifted any silverware, I have thoroughly enjoyed the team spirit that exists, not only in my team, but throughout expat soccer in Taiwan. That’s why we have introduced the Spoon competition this year. I really want every team, regardless of ability, to have something to play for on Sunday,” Cooke said.

This emphasis on team spirit will certainly be on show this weekend and anyone who lives in Taichung or who is looking to get out and see some great soccer will definitely be very welcome if they come along to watch.

“Taiwan’s expat teams are always looking for new players as foreigners tend to come and go on a regular basis, so anyone looking to join a team can come along and see for themselves the level that we play at,” Cooke said. “Teams are also permitted to use several local Taiwanese players ... so local enthusiasts needn’t be put off by the ‘expat’ label.”

The first games kick off at 11am tomorrow and the final whistle that decides the tournament winners is scheduled to blow at 5pm on Sunday.

With a staggering 48 games between kickoff and the Cup final, there is sure to be action, drama, thrills and spills before the trophies are lifted.

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