Youth are back to training

back to trainingWe were so happy to see most of our youth players back to training last Friday 🙂 Some parents even came out to support far away in Putuo!

We had a friendly match versus J-Academy and the pitch size was a bit strange as it was 9 vs 9 with 7 aside goals… However, the most important for us was the be able to be back on the field and smell the grass! We had 12 players with Mathew helping out as goalie as Koki is still in Japan and couldn’t come back. Kevin has a blister during the warming up so not a lot of options to change the team. We started well against Juventus and the game was tight for most of the time both sides had chances but missed the target no surprise after such a long time not being able to play! In the second half, we also played well but we could see the impact on our players of being at home and not being able to play for such a long time and Juventus seemed to be more fit and took advantage of that!

We will work on that in the coming weeks and will get the players back in shape and mentally good condition step by step as what is happening around the world, of course, has an impact on each and every one! As the Concordia field is not available and most schools are still closed we booked Qi Yi field for 8 weeks every Friday evening starting this Friday 1830-2030! Later when we see the development of the players we can add a second training day but we like to rebuild step by step! So we hope all our youth players will come to the training on Friday and we will help them to get back their fitness and positive mind!

We will look for friendly matches and if the schools would reopen we can also restart league matches! For the older youth, they can continue to train with the seniors and will be selected for senior matches! For the players who unfortunately could not make it back yet we hope you can all come back in the near future we are all waiting for you! For now, that’s Paris, Koki, Casey, Alvaro, Nikita.

Also, Yuma-san will not return because his parents moved back to Japan… Farewell, my friend! We will miss you very much! You are and will be an incredible player and remember “once a Lion always a Lion”! So good luck in Japan and anytime you are back in Shanghai you can play for the Lions!

See you all on Friday ! 18:30 at Qi Yi!

Cheers
Freek, Nick, Pat & Azz

Lions are back to business

back to businessIt was a beautiful day and we could play on a beautiful natural grass field with a great group of positive motivated youth, senior and legends Lions. We were all happy being back to business playing football as most countries are still in lockdown and stopped all the outdoor activities!

We played a friendly against Japan and we had 22 players signed up including three new players Pim from Holland, Haroun from France and Hiro-san from Japan. As Japan had a lot of players as well we opted for 4 x 30 minutes with Lions’ president taking the role of referee.

In the first 30 minutes, both Japan and the Lions played a bit conservative so the 0-0 scoreline was no surprise. In the second 30 minutes, Japan fielded a bit more older players whereas we had another mixed team with young and old. We managed to play well in the counter and got several opportunities. Philipp and Hiro-san scored to give the Lions a good 2-0 lead. In the next 30 minutes, Japan had his younger team out again and because we had a mixed team it caused us some problems to stop their fast and furious counters. Finally, they surprised our defense with a very quickly taken free-kick after a Jerome handball at the edge of the box. Right after, coach Pat made a change to take Jerome off and put FL in his place but they scored again. With their fast pace and quick movement, Japan managed to outplay us a couple of times and they took a 2-4 lead! After this we stepped up and controlled the game better and in the last 30 minutes our aim was to turn the game around and we tried hard and had multiple opportunities but credit to the Japanese goalkeeper he did a great job we managed to get one goal back but it was not enough even a bicycle kick from Fred Fuseau didn’t help in the end!

Great match and all players left with a happy feeling! So step by step we will get our fitness back but the most important is to support each other on-and-off the pitch. No matter you are young or old, any time we can play football we shall take it with pleasure and feeling blessed to enjoy the occasion!

It was a special day being back to business and hopefully, many more are to come! Big Hug to all the Lions and their families!

Cheers
Freek

Lions back in action after COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19It has been a difficult time as right during the CNY holiday we found ourselves in a situation which none of us expected to happen. When COVID-19 virus broke out China took fast-action closing down all the cities and ordered all the people to stay home. With all the school closed it meant that soccer was no option for us as the fields were closed as well! Life without football was hard and it made you realize how much we missed the weekly training and matches together with your friends from all over the world! Sitting/working at home is not good for your fitness level as you surely move less and tend to eat and drink a bit more. For one week you can laugh about it as we were all in the same boat but after two months it’s no longer a joke and a lot of us found ourselves frustrated at home… However, in the last couple of days, the situation has improved a lot in Shanghai. This is contrary to the situation in the rest of the world as now all sports including soccer are halted across the globe on a scale we have never seen in our lifetimes.

You can imagine how happy we were when the Shanghai Government announced last week that sports facilities could re-open to adults only subject temperature checks and proof of Green QR code. We were quick to take this opportunity and booked a field at Qi Yi sports complex and enjoyed our first match of football last Sunday! With a blue sky and 24 degrees and no pollution, you can imagine we played with smiles on our faces!

Yesterday we had our first training session and although we are all still a bit out of shape we are motivated to get our fitness back!

Couple of more training sessions and we will be ready for our first match post COVID-19 virus!

Happy to be back!

Cheers
Freek

U18 shown great fighting spirit versus Aksil

We knew it was going to be a hard match vs. Aksil as our U18 squad is currently having several players who are only 13-14 years old… This being a challenge, it’s good to play against older players so you can learn and see what you still need to work on and improve as a young player! Our game plan was defensive first to make sure we control the midfield and we left Paris our new striker upfront.

We thought he scored the 1-0 in the first 5 minutes but his great placed effort went just wide. We had a few more chances but also were caught out a few times on corners for us where they got the ball first as most of them were taller than our players and the countered very fast. It was a free-kick for them which gave them a 1-0 lead. Soon, while we were trying to build up from our defense we gave them another goal. As it was still early in the game but we were showing some cracks in our team as we focused on the negatives more and forgot about the good things we could do in the match! So with 10 minutes to go in the first half we found ourselves 3-0 down after we couldn’t defend their shot well… it was superb to see the team stand up instead of giving up and they played their best 10 minutes of the match. Paris nicely set up by our midfield players brought us back to 1-3 and a great build-up from our defense on the right with Matt who found Henry who gave a super pass to Paris to make it 2-3 going into the break for half time!

During the half time talk, we asked more effort from all of our players and asked them to step up! We got a few opportunities to level the game but a superb strike of the Aksil player from outside the box put us behind again. In the next 20 minutes, we lost control of the match and Aksil had several shots on target. Kokki our goalie was alert and saved us wherever he could. On the counters, we tried our luck and after a good combination in the midfield they found Yuma-san in the box who with one quick move according to him was fouled “clear penalty”! Mathew Blisset stood up to take the responsibility as one of the older players and he put us back in the game 3-4! With only a few minutes left we kept showing our Lions spirit and were fighting very every ball and all the team effort got rewarded in the very last minute of the match when on the break Yuma and Paris found Daniel who put the ball with a small touch at for the right end of the goal !!

It was a great match to end 4-4 and all of our players learned a lot today but what stood out was we never give up mentality as it was amazing to come back twice from far behind! It was nice to see so many parents and family come out to watch the match despite the very cold weather and we appreciate that very much !! Well done Lions what a great come back and team effort!

Very Happy!
Pat, Nick, Azz & Freek

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020Lions, friends & family. It’s time to say goodbye to 2019 and welcome this happy new year 2020! 2019 was a good year for the Lions as we left some footprints everywhere in Shanghai!

  1. Our U16’s started to play very well in the second half of the season as the hard work at the training paid off. First of all our players were fitter and stronger due to Nick’s work out sessions and the tactical two/three touch pieces of training made all players more confidence in the games. Actually, while we were already in mid-June and were done for the season we became Champions as Ebbe Sand our competitor lost their so-called “easy match” against YKFC.
  2. Our U18’s started well from the beginning of the season and were Champions for the second year in a row 10 points clear from number two DEQ. We ended the season with a nice BBQ for players and parents and held a match for the fathers vs. the sons the next day at Concordia.
  3. Our Seniors did well with the help of some of our U18 players including Noel our youth keeper… We got also a lot of students who played with us for 3 to 6 months. However, the competition was a neck to neck race vs. old rival the Marlins. The last match of the season was to decide the Champion but we lost and ended second! We did participate for the first time in the Chen Yi Cup” organized by the SFA. We enjoyed it but lost our second match in the last minute of playing time. We will join again next year and we will do better.
  4. Our Legends had one of their best years ever as they won the SPL V league a strong competition with 10 teams! They also won the Master Cup the over 40’s tournament organized by Super48 and the Santa cup for the first time. In both tournaments, the legends won all their matches and didn’t concede a single goal! The key to the success of the Legends is the commitment of the players to turn up for matches… As a matter of fact, they managed to have almost the same squad week in and week out and play in the same formation most of the time. Well done legends!

The Lions FC is and will always be a club where we rely on the help of our own players to run and manage the club. That’s the beauty of our club and we were very sad when we got to know that Azzeddine made the decision to move to Phuket. Azzeddine’s contribution to the club is hard to express in words but his passion for the sport and the understanding of the game is from a level we can only look up to and we appreciate so much as he showed us the way how to train how to play and how to win!

In the last two years, he has put all his love and energy in the youth teams and all teams improved! Of course, we always hope he will come back one day but for now, we do wish him all the best in the world for his new life in Phuket.

Going forward we are very pleased with Patrick taking over Azzeddine’s role at the youth and senior training. With the great physical sessions of Nick, we have a great team of coaches. Also, it’s nice to see Romain helping out with the senior team and new Lions U18 players making their debut with the senior teams and playing very well! Last but not least I like to thank FL who’s working on the background to keep our website and statistics alive and running! Life nowadays is all about content…. and with 3.5M clicks on our website, we must do something right!

We wish all the Lions and their families in Shanghai or abroad a very healthy, sportive & happy new year 2020! Let’s leave a couple of more footprints in Shanghai this new year! Trust me we are very lucky and fortunate to have this great group of people and players from all over the world keeping the name and reputation of the Shanghai Lions alive and kicking! Once you are back home to your country only then you realize how special it was to play in Shanghai with the Lions whether you are U16 or U18 or Senior or a Legend!

 

LET’S ALL ENJOY TO BE PART OF THE LIONS FAMILY AND MAKE 2020 ANOTHER GREAT SHANGHAI LIONS YEAR !!

 

CHEERS & HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020 AGAIN
Freek on behalf of all the Lions in the WORLD!

Laser tag & Party at Lions’ Christmas menu

laser tagIn the afternoon, it was our youth players who had a good time at Club X where they played 3 rounds of Laser tag. The scores were close and good laser tag battles took place. Of course, the coaches Patrick, Nick & Freek were main targets for the players! It was a good way to end a great first half of the season. If you are interested to join our youth teams, you’re very welcome!  If you are aged between 13-18 and need more information, please email us at info@shanghai-lions.com.

In the evening, we had a nice mix of legends & senior players joining the Christmas Dinner at Kartel. The drinks and the food were good and afterward, we paid respect to our DJ’s Kevin & Kad and visited Club Gypsie where ended a great evening in the late hours of the night or better said in the early mornings of the next day!

 

We wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy/Healthy 2020. See you all next year!

 

Cheers,
Freek on behalf of all the Lions and their families

Legends win the Santa Cup 2019

Santa Cup 2019For this Santa Cup 2019 edition, the setting could not be better with superb weather for the month of December on the fantastic green natural grass field of Wellington college. 12 teams from all over the world playing with Santa hats in great friendly and respectful spirit… Amazing! Believe me, this is a unique tournament where we respect any color of the skin, any race, and culture… you cannot find that back in your home country! So honestly, I was a bit sad while organizing this tournament to see the Lions had the least players of all the 12 teams. In my view, it’s about giving back and show appreciation of what you have and share with others!

So we only had 7 players to start with Sylvain coming directly from M1nt… As we were short in number, the president had to start as a goalkeeper. The positive of it was that all the players that came were highly motivated. As we were playing all the top 6 teams in the league we knew it was not going to be easy especially with only 7 players and 6 games in total!

For the 1st game, we were up against the Bulls and we beat them 2-0 which was a good start especially in a tournament! After we played Wellington A and Wellington B and beat them respectively 3-0 and 8-0. After that, we got the main game of the day against Emerald. With Romain in goal and Terao in the squad, we were ready to give them a hard time. We got a penalty which Bob took but a great save from their keeper kept them in the race! They were dangerous on counter-attacks with Fafa but most of his efforts went wide. We took the lead with a great ball in from Andrei finished by Bob and a good save from Romain first time ever goalie gave us the three points! After we played Japan in our final group stage match. We were already number one in the group because Bulls tied with Emeralds so it was not our best but we won 1-0!

The final of the Santa Cup 2019 was against England as they were top in the other group! In only 15 minutes we beat them 5-0 with a great first “chip” goal after 3 minutes from Andrei. Afterward, we controlled the match and played really well as a team with plenty of opportunities and some great goals!

 

Today was a superb performance of a small group of legends with hardly any subs but clean sheets in the whole tournament and some great goals! I am proud of the players today! It’s the first time for the Lions to win the Santa Cup! So for the people who came, you are LEGENDS !!!

 

Cheers
Happy Freek

U16 beat YKFC before Christmas

christmasFor this U16 last game of the year before Christmas, we had Julia and Alvaro missing versus YKFC… It meant that some of the players were asked to step up and lead the team in the right direction. In the first part of the game, we focused on defense first and good build-up from the back to the midfield players and create opportunities from the flanks. YKFC did have a strategy and game plan for us which was to sit deep and defend with the whole team… In other words “parking the bus”. It worked well for them however whenever they had a goal kick the coach asked them to build up from the back instead of the long balls and that was good for us as once they gave the first ball wide we pressured them in the corner with our attackers and midfield players. We scored the 1-0 with 15 minutes played by a free-kick from Daniel on the right side who found the head from David who with his new hair scored with a good header away from the keeper! We stayed compose and were waiting for our next chance which was scored by Matt after he was faster in reaction to surprise the YKFC keeper after a good pressing form our players! However two minutes later, they scored as we struggled to clear their high balls. In the last minute of the first half, we got a great combination in the midfield with Yuma-san giving the final pass to Daniel who didn’t hesitate to put the ball in the far corner!

We went in the dressing room 3-1 up but had some hard talks as we needed to improve in defense and we asked some players to step it up!

It was amazing to see the whole team transform into a superb teamwork display where all of the players stayed in their positions and executed the 1 or two touches which we have done at training week in and week out! We created several opportunities with great build-ups between 4-5 players and on both sides of the field and whenever YKFC did come close to the goal we had several midfielders and defenders to drop back to make sure no danger for Kokki-san! Our fourth goal was very nice with 3-4 quick combinations on the right side and Daniel blasting the ball in the net with his left foot from the middle of the box! Matt was unlucky to see his nice strike hit the crossbar and in the end, David got a second goal with a great strike as well to make the final score 5-1!

We went back to the dressing room after the match and gave compliments to all players today as it was a really good team performance and we were very happy with the way we played football!

 

Well done Lions and a good way to end 2019! However, we are not done yet as we will have our Christmas event on the 14th of December. No training next week but we see you all next Saturday! Also, it was Nick’s 31th birthday… So we took a video for him. Happy birthday, Nick!!!

Happy Christmas
Pat, Nick, Freek & Azz

Lions beat Marlins in a six goal thriller

thrillerFor this 1st deciding game of the season against Marlins, we knew this could be another thriller as some of our players were missing due to the Phuket tournament. As a consequence, we came up with a small squad but it is sometimes better having a small motivated crew instead of a large one. Until Friday evening we were not sure about our goalie as our worst-case scenario was to put Pat as the goalkeeper. On Saturday morning thanks to the help of Arnault we got a goalie and could work on our formation! During our warming up we got Yu injured that left us with 15 minutes to go with only 13 players and no goalie as Matt was struggling to find the field. However, he arrives in good spirits and motivated 5 minutes before kick-off!

[ SPL ] Shanghai Marlins FC 2-4 Shanghai Lions FC

The early tactic was to focus on defense first and play compact and wait for the counter opportunities. We worked very well as a team in the first 15 minutes with good ball circulation and possession. It was a long-distance strike from Kevin which couldn’t be stopped well by the Marlins goalie and Arnault was alert to give us an early lead. We knew nothing was won yet but tried to play in the same formation and style almost got the 2-0 when a great thru ball reached Arnault on the run but his effort went offer. Marlins did get a couple of corners which were very dangerous and it was one of their counters where we were unlucky not to be able to clear the ball but instead handed it to the Marlins attacker who equalized 10 minutes before half time!

At half time we made two changes as Terao-san arrived and we tried to play the same as the first half but the Marlins got the better of us in the first 15 minutes putting more pressure on our defenders. As the game moved on we got our playback and got a few occasions. On a counter led by Arnault, we finally got the 2-1 lead with a goal from Philipp. Marlins pushed more players forward and got a lucky reward when a foul from Fafa on Masa turned into a foul from Maso on Fafa and the referee gave a thriller penalty! It was 2-2 with 7 minutes to go and everybody thought it was the final score but the Lions had other ideas pushing everybody forward and a long throw-in from big John caused havoc in the Marlins penalty box and our youngster Alvaro was alert to score 3-2 and within the next two minutes he scored the final score 4-2 on a counter after a supercross from Big John our right-back while all the Marlins were going forward to equalize!

 

What a match! A super team effort with a lot of hard work for each other. A great pleasure seeing so many happy faces at the end of the game after this thriller.

  • Great goalkeeping from Matt
  • Great leadership from the older players
  • Great play from the youngster Laurenz, Matthew & Alvaro
  • Great support from Julia & Nick

Lions, we are one family and one team !  Well done!

 

Happy
Freek

Legends stay unbeaten in the SPL Veteran

unbeatenIt was a beautiful day thanks to the Import Expo which kept most of the factories closed for the week! Awesome blue sky with 22 degrees for a mid-November… Let’s call it global warming! For this game, we were up against the Welsh Bellies. Although we saw a couple of new players in their squad, our goal was to stay unbeaten in the SPL Veteran league. As always, the plan was to get the game in our control right from the start!

[ SPL VETERAN ] Shanghai Lions FC 3-0 Welsh Bellies

In the first quarter, we did just that and kept possession of the ball whereas the Welsh tried to defend us with only one player on top! It was a superb build-up and a great strike by Kevin from outside the box which left the Welsh goalie helpless to stop the ball! Good start for the Legends!

In the second quarter, we kept our discipline and composure. On a corner from Tomas, Laid headed the ball for a  2-0 up. Although our opponent was not very dangerous, we knew we needed one more goal to seal the victory and of course, we were aiming for the clean sheet!

It was the last minute of the third quarter when Tomas tried his luck from a distance but the goalie stopped his effort however he couldn’t hold the ball and Masa-san was there to finish it off!

The last 20 with a 3-0 lead was not very exciting… After the final whistle, we were happy about staying unbeaten! The whole team stayed disciplined throughout the match and didn’t give away anything to the Welsh!

 

So far so good for the Legends! We will be back in action in two weeks!

 

Cheers
Freek

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