Fast and Furious Soccer Sevens Return!

Newcastle United eye repeat performance as HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens return

Soccer Sevens.

Victory in the most recent edition of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens is spurring Newcastle United's latest crop of young talent towards a repeat of that success four years ago as the tournament makes its long-awaited return at the Hong Kong Football Club this weekend.

The world renowned seven-a-side competition will be held for the first time since 2019 following a three-year Covid-19 enforced hiatus, with the event kicking off on Friday evening with the Masters Tournament and running through until Sunday.

Newcastle are one of five Premier League clubs to feature in the 16-team Main Event, which also includes Scottish Premiership giants Rangers and English Championship side Queens Park Rangers alongside Leicester City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Fulham and Aston Villa.

The St James' Park-based club defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 2019 final and full back Matt Bondswell is determined the trophy will return to Newcastle when he and his teammates fly back to England on Monday evening.

last time out and we know how big the tournament is," says the 21-year-old.

"And there are going to be a lot of people watching, especially Newcastle fans. They'll be supporting us, and we've seen the celebrations that come with winning it and that's given us motivation.

"We're looking forward to the games on Saturday and, hopefully, Sunday as well."

Fast and Furious Soccer Sevens Return!

The unique format of the competition, which sees seven-a-side teams face off over two seven-minute halves, has prompted Bondswell and his team mates to adapt their training in preparation for their appearance at Sports Road.

"It's something we've been working on for a while, as soon as our season was finished," he says. "We've been preparing for tournament scenarios so now we just need to adjust to the heat. Hopefully the football will look after itself.

"There's loads of things that are different, and one of the big ones is there's no offside and that's something that defensively and going forward you have to be aware of.

"It's going to be the same for everyone, but there are things you need to be aware of, such as the size of the pitch, the heat and the environment."

Newcastle have been drawn in Group C alongside Leicester City, Hong Kong Football Club and HKFC Captain's Select while six-time champions Aston Villa headline Group A, which also includes Rangers, Tai Po FC and the Yau Yee Select.

Group B features Fulham, Hong Kong Premier League champions Kitchee, MUST CPK and Singapore Football Club, while Brighton & Hove Albion, QPR, Singapore Cricket Club and Hong Kong, China U22 Representative Team round out the Main Event line-up in Group D.

Brighton & Hove Albion will be among those attempting to deny Newcastle a successful defence of their title and Jack Hinchy is confident his team can add to a landmark week for the club after the Premier League side qualified for the UEFA Europa League on Wednesday.

"Just like any event, we've come here to try and win it and that's what we're hoping to do and playing the way we want to play, regardless of who else is here," says the 20-year-old midfielder.

"The main aim is to win.

"Since Roberto de Zerbi came in as manager a lot has changed with the club's style of play, but we've been implementing it in the league, in 11-a-side back home, and we'll try and implement part of that into this tournament too.

"But we know it's a different game and we'll have to play slightly differently. Qualification for the Europa League shows the direction we're now going and the future's looking good for us as a club."

The Masters Tournament will begin proceedings at the 2023 HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, with games being played on 26 May, before the Main Event kicks off the following day.

Matches run throughout until 28 May.

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