ANZA Soccer enjoyed a night of cheering on Home United at the recent RHB Singapore Cup Final, says Cara D’Avanzo.

It was a dark and stormy night. The rain pounded down, and the traffic around Jalan Besar Stadium was a tangled mess. It seemed impossible that any soccer game could go ahead, or that any fans would make it to the stadium. But just in time, the clouds cleared and the final game of the 2014 RHB Singapore Cup was able to start.

A generous invitation from Home United FC General Manager, Mr Azrulnizam Shah Sohaimi, led to a special experience for over 100 ANZA Soccer players and parents in early November. We were invited to join the HUFC fans as the team attempted to win the Cup for the second year in a row.

Due to the downpour we were seated in the main, covered grandstand with the opposing Balestier Khalsa FC fans, rather than in the visitors’ uncovered seats across the stadium, but along with many other HUFC fans we made the most of the opportunity to see live professional soccer right here in Singapore.

We all enjoyed the opening ceremonies, which included cheerleaders, wacky mascots, lots of drumming, and the huge Cup being paraded onto the pitch. Then the game began, and a fast and furious match it was. Despite soggy conditions, both teams played at a rapid pace, with many tough challenges and impressive moves.

Our ANZA players, who came from all age groups and teams, soaked up the action eagerly and supported HUFC with cheers and clapping. They were impressed with the pace of the game, the skills of the players, and the intensity of the competition. ANZA parent coaches in the crowd pointed out how the players held their positions, used set plays, and communicated constantly. At half-time many of the ANZA fans refreshed themselves with ice creams and cold drinks.

In the end, HUFC failed to score with the chances they had, while Balestier capitalised on theirs and won 3-1. ANZA families trudged out tired but happy, with many kids chattering about the game with their friends until they had to part. Parents for whom this was a first experience of a game between S-League teams noted that it far exceeded their expectations in terms of the level of play and the interest it inspired in the kids.

We gratefully thank HUFC GM Mr Azrulnizam Shah Sohaimi for making this event possible for us, and our Head Coach Yakob for putting him in touch with us. We also appreciate Madam Farah Almuddin at HUFC and ANZA Soccer Community Relations Coordinator Luc Mongeon in making it happen. Hopefully this is the first of many professional soccer games we can visit as an ANZA Soccer group!

What the parents said…

‘This game seemed to move so much faster than other pro games

I’ve seen!’

‘We had a great time hanging out with our teammates and with

other kids in the Age Group who we didn’t know before.’

‘This was a lovely event, and I would come to another game for

sure if we can arrange it!’

‘It was fantastic to be able to actually show the kids what we mean

when we teach them about the game on Saturdays.’

‘Thanks for giving us this chance to see some great soccer!’

…and what the kids said:

‘Those guys play so rough!’

‘I loved seeing my friends outside of our usual games!’

‘This was an awesome game!’

‘I want to play with this team some day!’

‘Can I have another ice cream?’