Some students sleep late and relax during semester break. But 20 GIS athletes, three coaches, and piles of parents exploded with activity, as Grace hosted the second annual S.E. Asia ‘Five Nations Soccer Cup’ recently. On two fields simultaneously, teams grappled through 18 games in four days, continuing a tournament began in 2011 in Taiwan.
Grace welcomed Dalat International School players from Penang, Malaysia; Faith Academy athletes of Manila, Philippines; Hong Kong International Christian School (HKICS) students; a Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) team, and Morrison Academy players from Taiwan, all housed by GIS and CMIS families.
“I learned different styles of soccer from other teams,” senior player YeChan Moon said. I also learned not to lose focus on my main goal: to give glory to God. This also means to respect other players, coaches, and referees.”
The Chiang Mai crowd roared when our Grace Tigers beat Dalat and Morrison on the first day. The following day they prevented HKICS and CMIS from scoring a single goal. Day three GIS tied Faith. So these two teams competed in the final game; Grace won by three points, making them tournament champions.
In their free time, visiting teams helped Grace students in Thai elementary schools. They also taught sports to local children on the GIS campus for two days. For fun, our visitors rode elephants and zip-lined through trees like monkeys. On the last night after awards, teens and chaperones wandered through the night bazaar.
“I experienced many cultures, with teams from five countries. We’re all from different backgrounds, but we bonded and had fellowship through soccer. All the players really displayed excellent sportsmanship — on and off the field,” senior Johnathan Shin said. “I was also really impressed with how some teams willingly served Thai children in the Sports Camp with a happy heart, even though they were drained from soccer games. This really challenged me to reflect and ask myself, whether I really serve others with Christ’s love or just because I have to?”
“This was the first year GIS hosted the Five Nations Cup . It went smooth. Our team had a good competitive championship game with Faith athletes,” P.E. staff Khun Kee said. “Students, coaches, and parents had great spirit. They were thankful for the tournament and also for our ‘Parents Aligned With Sports’ (PAWS) group, who sold lunch and dinner all three days!”