Hoops helped Chow’s soccer game
Vancouverite will be playing for Canada at Under-17 World Cup beginning next week
Matthew Chow believes his basketball brain is often at work on the soccer field.
The attacking midfielder from Vancouver, a member of Canada’s squad for this month’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, was also an accomplished point guard at Vancouver College.
“I think the combination of basketball and soccer is really good for your cross-training,” Chow said Friday, before the Canadian team headed to Dubai for a 10-day training camp.
“Agility-wise and quickness-wise, I think basketball helped me a lot. It’s a faster pace, end-to-end, and it helped me make decisions quicker I think.”
Chow said he felt pressure to quit basketball sooner than he did but he loves the sport so much that he stuck with it through Grade 10.
Ultimately, he thought about the two passions and decided he wasn’t tall enough to pursue basketball seriously.
He’s also a decent golfer. He’s a member at Marine Drive Golf Club and once claimed to have a five handicap, though it’s probably closer to 10 now, he admitted. He’s been minus-1 on the front nine at Marine but rarely plays 18 because “I don’t have time.”
He can talk Michael and Tiger as much as Messi, but there’s no question about Chow’s focus in recent months. It’s been solely on the U-17 World Cup, which Canada qualified for with a character showing in Panama in April at the CONCACAF Championships.
He started four games there and assisted on a goal in the semifinal loss to Panama. Canada won bronze with a penalty-kicks win over Honduras and they’re in a World Cup group with Austria, Iran and Argentina.
The tournament runs Oct. 17-Nov. 8 with Sean Fleming’s side looking for Canada’s first-ever win at a U-17 World Cup.
“We want to make history for Canada, of course,” said Chow, who’s played as an out-and-out winger, and as a central midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 setup. “We’ve worked really hard together and I think we can do it.”
Despite having been part of the U-17 team in the lead-up to the World Cup, Chow said it’s still a special moment to get the official call for the squad.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I was just really excited. It’s everything I’ve worked for.”
He’s one of five Whitecaps residency players in Dubai, joined by goalkeeper Marco Carducci and midfielders Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese and Jordan Haynes.
Chow’s also one of only two B.C.-raised players on the team. The other is centre back Alex Comsia, a North Vancouver native now playing in France.
Chow grew up playing for Kerrisdale and in Richmond for the TSS Academy. He moved on to the Delta Selects, Richmond United and spent the 2011 BCSPL season with Fusion FC, a Vancouver-Richmond partnership.
He won a national championship with Team B.C. in 2010 and has been part of the Caps residency program since 2011-12.
Chow’s parents, Kevin Chow and Mei Lau, are headed to Dubai, which will make the tournament that much more special, he said.
“My dad’s almost as passionate (about soccer) as I am,” Chow said. “It’s wonderful to have their support and have them cheering.”
Of all the teams he’s played on, in any sport, Chow said there’s something special about this U-17 group, which gives them confidence heading into the group stage.
“We have really good chemistry,” he said. “Off the field, we don’t have cliques within the team, and on the field we have many different qualities that can influence the game.”
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