West Ham United Foundation star impresses in Hong Kong
PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:50 09 June 2017
West Ham United Academy star reflects on his trip to Hong Kong.
Roque Nchaso, 17, who is involved with the Foundation’s Learning Academy, travelled with a mixed U18s and U23 squad to Hong Kong for the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens last month.
The centre-back joined the likes of midfielder Moses Makasi, who was named on the bench for the final Premier League game of the season at Burnley, before signing a new one-year contract last week.
Nchaso, who has never travelled abroad to play, was part of the team who drew 0-0 with Yau Yee League Select, beat Kitchee 3-0 and lost 3-0 to French club Olympique Marseille.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to say I’d be playing,” he said.
“It was a huge honour to pull on the West Ham shirt out in Hong Kong, and it was an amazing experience to play against some top teams from across Europe and beyond.
The Hammers team were also beaten 3-1 by eventual champions Leicester City to drop into the Shield competition. There, they overcame HKFA U-23s 2-1 after extra-time before defeating Italian outfit Cagliari 2-0, with goals from Joe Powell and Jaanai Gordon, to secure a piece of silverware to bring home to England.
Nchaso added: “I’ve learnt a lot during my time in the Foundation Learning Academy, but this was extra special.”
U18s Assistant Manager Mark Phillips added: “Considering Roque had never played at this standard before, and was thousands of miles from home with a group of players he didn’t know before travelling, he coped extremely well.
“He played a large number of minutes throughout the tournament, and also vastly improved his social interaction with both players and staff as the week wore on.
I feel and hope it was a fulfilling experience both on and off the pitch for Roque, who ultimately returned with a winning medal.”
The West Ham United Foundation Learning Academies are a two-year, full-time education and football development programme, offering the opportunity to study a wide-range of subjects across a broad range of qualifications.
Adam Raimes, operations manager, said: “Roque travelling with the U23 squad to such a prestige tournament is a great example of the close working relationship that the Academy and Foundation hold.”