AFC Women’s Coach of the Year 2016: Chan Yuen-ting
Abu Dhabi: Chan Yuen-ting made international headlines this year after sensationally guiding Eastern Sports Club to both the Hong Kong Premier League and Senior Challenge Shield titles – and has been rewarded by winning the AFC Women’s Coach of the Year award for 2016.
Eastern’s league title success saw Chan, who took charge at the club late last year, become the first-ever female coach to have led a professional men’s team to a top-flight championship, a feat that landed the unassuming Hong Kong native a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
"This award is a surprise because I never thought the day would come when I’d be here," Chan told the-afc.com.
"The other nominees were also very good and outstanding in (terms of) women’s coaching. When I received the letter inviting me to the event gala, I didn’t think that I’d win.
"I want to dedicate this trophy to my football club. It feels amazing for a female coach to be working in a men’s team, so I want to thank Eastern Football Club for giving me this chance and trust, and also to the staff and players."
Under her expert guidance, Eastern claimed the Senior Challenge Shield crown in January before edging out Kitchee to win the league three months later – a success that also helped Chan win the Hong Kong Football Association Coach of the Year accolade.
After graduating from university, Chan - recently named among the BBC’s ‘100 Women of 2016’ – began work as a data analyst for Hong Kong Pegasus FC (then known as TSW Pegasus FC), before joining the managerial staff at Pegasus where she helped steer the club’s U-18 side to three trophies,
An assistant coach role at Southern District FC soon followed, as did the chance to move to Eastern, an opportunity that Chan seized with both hands.
Having turned down at least one offer to coach in Europe, Chan currently remains determined to further her career in Asia and looks set to become the first female coach to appear in the AFC Champions League when the competition’s 2017 edition begins.
The 28-year-old was a member of Batch 2010 of AFC Project Future Coaches, having successfully graduated from the two-year coaches grooming programme in 2012.