Lindsay and Matthew tackling football challenges t

Rambunctious Kitchee midfielder Matthew Lam’s unforgiving pursuit of a professional football career has led him to all over North America, Europe, and eventually Asia. Through all the turbulences that came along the way, one thing remained constant for Lam – the unwavering support of his football-playing significant-half, Lyndsay Stewart. Ever engaging and refreshingly candid, Lam sheds light on how the couple beat the odds, stayed together despite living in two continents for the better part of the past ten years, and how they were finally reunited in Hong Kong. This is not a love story. Just a genuine, real-life story of a professional footballer and his significant-half. Raised in Alberta, Canada, Lam met his future fiancée through the small but thriving football community in the city of Edmonton. The couple, both madly into football, quickly struck up a romantic rapport but immediately faced their first hurdle, as Lam was a fast-rising prospect in the famous Ajax youth system… …all the way across the Atlantic in Holland. “I would be the first to tell you that a long-distance relationship is not easy, that is for sure. Back in the earlier days, Lyndsay was still in university in Alberta while I was trying to make the grade in Europe. We tried to stay connected and you could imagine the phone bills that we racked up in those years. Of course, there was also the time difference that we had to overcome, as we were living in two continents!” “There were times when my teammates would invite me out for coffee or lunch after training sessions but most of the time, I would have to turn them down so that I could rush back home, get on the phone and chat with Lyndsay before she went to school or work. You can imagine the stick that I got from the boys,” Lam recalled with his signature grin. Professional players are often on the move and that is no different to Lam, especially in the early stages of his football career. However, Lam’s uncertain football future back then did cause the aspiring footballer lots of anguish but thanks to the unyielding support of Lyndsay, Lam toughened things out and the couple ended up emerging stronger than ever as an item. “I remember the time when I decided to leave Ajax for a fresh start. I had opportunities to stay in Holland and to play for smaller clubs but decided to try my luck in England, chasing the big dream of landing in the Premier League or the Championship. Eventually I settled down with Sheffield United but Ajax and the Blades could not come to terms with my transfer nor the compensation involved,” Lam revealed. “After staying one year in England, I started the nomadic journey of travelling all over Europe in search of my next opportunity, including stops in Greece, Serbia, Croatia and Germany. During that span, there were lots of rejections, frustrations and depressions involved while facing an uncertain future but yet, Lyndsay would always stand beside me and offering her support. In fact, she would often sacrifice her holidays to come out to wherever I was, just to visit me and to try and stay connected. It was very special to have someone like that and I could not tell you how much I appreciated her effort and sacrifice.” Years of trying to establish himself in the professional game finally led the tenacious midfielder to Hong Kong in 2013. On-field success quickly came for the unassuming Lam, who eventually invited Lyndsay to join him in Hong Kong less than two years ago. “It is great to have Lyndsay in Hong Kong with me and we do everything together,” Lam said when asked about having his significant-half in town. “Lyndsay is definitely one of my harshest critics but at the same time, she is also very supportive of my career. She attends as many Kitchee games as she possibly could and I am telling you, she is very into the game whenever she is in the stadium.” Lam ventures on and divulges on the reasoning behind his “trademark” goal-celebration. “At the beginning, Lyndsay would sit in various spots in the stadium and I would not know where she was before and after the game. Hence whenever I scored, I would have a little joke with her and placed my hand above my eyes, as if I was looking for her on the stands,” Lam shared with a laugh. The Kitchee midfielder steadfastly repeated throughout the interview how much he appreciated Lyndsay’s support. In his own way, Lam tries to show the same kind of support to his significant-half, who is new relatively new in town. “Lyndsay used to play football back in Canada and was actually quite good at it. She actually spent a short period of time training with the Canadian National Team program but eventually decided to take the university route. Now that she is living in Hong Kong and playing for Hong Kong Football Club’s Women’s Team on her spare time, I always try to go, watch her play and support her as much as I could,” Lam explained. “I was consumed with chasing my own dreams back in our early days and missed out on supporting her when she was playing in a fairly high standard back home in Edmonton, Canada. Now with things a bit more settled in my career, I really want to try to repay all the sacrifices that she has made for me, for supporting me behind the scenes.”