Life is somewhat busy for DB youngster Seb Buddle at the moment, but with a professional football contract already under his belt at age 17, things are going rather well.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Seb’s love of soccer began at an early age when he joined the Mui Wo Warriors. Just three years old at the time, he took to the sport straight away, and joined the DB Dragons when his family moved to Discovery Bay two years later. At age 10, Seb transferred to Kitchee SC, where he has been working hard to develop his skills ever since.
Fast forward to 2016, and the hard work has really started to pay off for the West Island School (WIS) student, whose summer got off to an exciting start when he headed to the UK to try out with Scottish Premier League team Hearts. The trip was exciting, but also tough. “I was jetlagged going into the trials,” he explains. “I didn’t do well enough this time but I’m hoping that in a year or so I can be much stronger.”
Back in Hong Kong, Seb immediately got stuck into training with Kitchee, with whom he signed a professional contract last year. Widely regarded as the top team in the Hong Kong Premier League, Kitchee is once again leading the table this year and Seb is relishing the opportunity.
“I am very proud to be a part of the team,” says Seb, “to train with them every day and to hopefully soon play with them. I am working hard in order to earn a chance to make my professional debut. The standard is very high and I have to play at my best or even better every training. It is a lot of work to travel up there every day and train but I enjoy it very much. My team mates and coaches are very supportive and I enjoy working with them.”
While football is Seb’s passion, he also recognises the importance of education, and is grateful to his school for the support they have shown by allowing him to spread his studies over an extra year. “The school is being very supportive,” he says. “I train five times a week, so I can only go to two lessons a day. It’s a very intense course so I will do half of it next year.”
Seb is also quick to recognise his coaches for their support and dedication. “I would like to thank my PE teacher at WIS, Richard Lant, for supporting me and pushing me to be better, and also my coach James Dean. He is always encouraging me and it was James who got me the trials in Scotland.
Seb credits his family with playing a big part in his success too. “My dad has come to every match I’ve ever played,” he says. “He has supported me throughout and encouraged me all the way. My girlfriend, Paige Smal, comes to every match too to cheer me on from the sidelines.”
So what’s next for the young DB star? “The next step I am hoping for is to make my professional debut and score some goals,” he says. “It will be very hard as the standard is very high and there is a lot of competition for places, but I am working hard in order to get my chance and to take it.”
Images courtesy of Seb Buddle and Kitchee SC