Geylang International FC

Guo Guang talks to GUFC!

 

“Study hard, play hard. Don’t let anyone tell you what you cannot do. Instead, show them what you can do,” he said with much conviction.

During the day, he can be seen donning the lecture halls and the school library of Singapore Management University. In the evenings, he will be at Bedok Stadium performing football drills under the instructions of Coach Kanan.

Chang Guo Guang, 23 years old of age, juggles his days with attaining a degree in one of Singapore’s top universities and being a professional Prime League player for Geylang United.

“I won’t deny that the workload from school can get quite demanding at times! But I honestly believe that when there’s a will, there’s a way. If you’re passionate about something, no matter how busy you may be, you will find a way to make things work.  Like in my case, time management is extremely important.”

“For example, I’m currently having a break from school but I’m also doing an internship with People’s Association of MCYS. So right after work, I’ll head down straight to training. It’s not that bad, trainings are something to look forward to!” Guo Guang said with a laugh.

Introduced to football by his grandfather, Guo Guang started playing the sport at a very young age of 4. He has almost never stopped playing football since then and was invited to join the Tampines Rovers COE when he was 15. However (luckily for us), due to poor academic performances, his parents stopped him from attending trainings with Tampines Rovers. He then went on to join Gombak United in 2006 and was eventually recommended to GUFC’s prime league team by current SAFSA and SMU coach, Richard Chew. He currently plays mainly as a winger or striker for GUFC’s prime league team and his strengths are his agility of movements and the ability to shoot with both feet.

“I still remember the day my grandfather introduced me to football. We were watching an EPL (English Premier League) match and I’m just amazed that how football can bring so much joy and ecstasy to everyone, especially the fans of the winning team. I don’t exactly remember the match but what I remember was seeing the entire stadium crowd erupting on T.V when a goal was scored. With that, I fell in love with the sport and never looked back since.”

“For me being a part of GUFC and SMU’s school team has been a huge privilege for me. Everyone in the club from the chairman, coaches, backroom staff and even teammates has been excellent mentors to me in one way or another. I have learnt, grown and matured tremendously during my time in GUFC. It may not always be the football-related issues that I learn about but also life lessons as well. I’m just very happy to be part of the club.”

Being an individual who was blessed with numerous sporting talents, Guo Guang almost never became a professional football player. Instead, in 2009, he was invited to train with then Singapore Athletic Association Head Coach for Sprints, Mr Muhd Hosni, after impressing in a 200m race during national service.

“The whole sprinting gig started when I took part in a race during NS. I clocked 22.1s for the 200m sprint and somehow I found myself training with Coach Hosni and also the national 4x100m squad under Coach Hamkah for a period of time.”

“Then, I thought to myself, I am actually going to be converted into a full time sprinter! Although I’m really glad to be able to learn from two highly respectable coaches, it came to a point of time when I had to make the choice to forgo one sport. I guess my overwhelming love for football made the decision for me. The thought of life without football was beyond me,” Guo Guang told GUFC.

…and regret did he not. After joining GUFC, Guo Guang then went on to lift the Prime League title last year and also participated in the Navibank Cup which was hosted by Vietnam last year. Guo Guang was part of the S-League team that competed against top South-East Asian teams like Hanoi F.C and Chonburi F.C. He calls the trip to Vietnam last year as the most memorable moment of his football career yet as the experience there has really been an eye opener for him.

After all that Guo Guang has achieved, one would forgive him for being a little proud of his achievements. However, lugging his training kit in a traveler bag, he is still as humble and down to earth as anyone of us. “There is nothing special about me, definitely not a superstar or anything of that sort. I’m an ordinary boy who has grown into an ordinary man who still goes to school like everyone else. Moreover, there are still a lot of things to achieve with GUFC.”

When asked what he hopes to see in GUFC in the future, Guo Guang replied, “I’ll really like to see GUFC fulfill its ambitions, playing in the Asia Cup or the Asian Champions League. I sincerely believe that the club has the plan in the pipeline. Geylang United is a club with a rich history and it would be great to see GUFC back at where it belongs.”

“As for me, I will try my ultimate best to help the Prime League team retain the title and win the FA cup to do the club proud.”

While there are not many players who would pursue a professional career in football after obtaining a degree, Guo Guang says he’s still open to options.

“I would definitely not rule out the possibility of playing in the S-League after I’ve graduated from SMU. As I’m really very attached to the sport, I will definitely consider playing it professionally after my studies. If there’s a club I will want to play for, it definitely has to be Geylang United.”

“This is how much I love the club.”

 

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