A Solomon Islands footballer in Spain could be the future of the national team.
The future of Solomon Islands football could be a talented young 16-year-old attacker called Marcus Chan, whose CV already shows Real Madrid and Valencia-affiliated academies.
Chan currently plays for the Valencia CF Cracks football academy – and is fast becoming a star for the u19 team as he continues his football growth.
With new facilities built in 2015, the academy aims to bring players from around the world into a world-class facility offering football training and education. It is a feeder club to a host of La Liga sides and regularly gets scouts from across the world arriving to watch its stars.
The facilities are also incredible – playing host to youth internationals and welcoming La Liga sides for training sessions when they visit nearby Valencia.
The list of graduates is impressive; a host of La Liga stars including Spain u21 and Valencia defender Jose Gaya, former Liverpool star Pedro Chirivella and Inter and Valencia star Francisco Farinos.
And the best of the current crop could be Oceania’s most successful export in years.
Chan is the poster boy for the academy’s u19s team and scored twice in a recent 2-0 victory. The CF Cracks Academy regularly uses Chan as a model on its Facebook page and a series of videos showcasing his skills have been posted.
However, the youngster is not new to Solomon Islands fans. The eldest son of His Excellency Laurie Chan, Solomon Islands’ Ambassador to the Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan, he was just 13 when he was playing for local side Viking FC.
That year he was invited to play for Denmark’s biggest club, Brondby, in the prestigious Brondby Cup youth tournament. He was handed the number nine shirt and despite playing in the u15 category led the team to the title.
Despite playing up front it was at midfield where Chan excelled. His coach said at the time said: “The first three games they keep Marcus as a striker. He did many good assists to goals. Their last game they tried to keep him as central midfielder where I told them they would get the most out of Marcus. That game he played his best game ever.
“I am really proud of Marcus. The fact he can keep up with a U15 team as a 13 year old is good. Marcus is not only bright on the pitch, he also exceled in his studies. He speaks three languages fluently; English, Chinese Mandarin and Solomon Pidgin.”
Chan soon earned a move to Europe – a big step for a boy who grew up playing football in Honiera and watching his local team, Koloale FC.
Now at the age of just 16 and after a brief spell in the Solomon Islands with Western United he is back in Spain and thriving.
The midfielder is on a fast track to a top European club and if he continues he could become one of the first Solomon Islands players to make it in a top European league.
His talent, education and upbringing have given him all the tools needed to make it. The next big decision will be when and if he is called up to the Solomon Islands squad.
Solomon Islands boast several top players in Benjamin Totori, Henry Fa’arado and Tutizama Tanito but Chan could be the next big superstar in the country. Getting him integrated into the national squad even at 16 could be a major boost for the country in time for World Cup qualifying.