Kadin Chung: Be a Changemaker

As we wrap up the month of May & Asian Heritage Month, Vancouver FC is proud to celebrate the rich legacy and contributions of Asian heritage that has shaped British Columbia and Canada. Vancouver FC player, Kadin Chung, is one of the most decorated veterans on the squad playing for the likes of Pacific FC, and Toronto FC while also representing Canada Men’s National Team at U-17 and U-20 levels. Chung is an Asian-Canadian athlete who wanted to share his experiences as a player of Asian descent in the sports world with the hopes that young Asian athletes can have someone to look up to.

From Port Coquitlam, Chung has Chinese and Filipino heritage from his father’s side; but those were roots that he did not embrace when he was a kid. “I hate to say it, but a lot of people made me kind of not appreciate my culture enough. It deterred me from wanting to really dive deep into the culture and be proud of it.

Kadin Chung went through the Whitecaps and 1. FC Kaiserslautern academies before making his pro-debut in the Canadian Premier League (Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC)

“It wasn’t until I was a little bit older that I realized that the Chinese community, the culture, it’s something to be proud of. It’s not a perfect country or culture or history by any means, but there’s a lot to be proud of and there’s a lot to show and there’s a lot that I feel needs to be put forward,” shares Chung.

From a soccer side, Chung also found it challenging to embrace his heritage due to the lack of representation in both local and global leagues, “I found it really difficult to believe that [professional football] would work out for me.” The 25-year-old believes that the lack of Asian representation is a factor that makes many young athletes give up on their dreams before they can even start.

Without external representation to look up to, Chung turned to the role models in his own life for guidance and affirmation. “Obviously, you have to look at my grandparents, my dad, they’re people who had very difficult lives growing up and just their determination, their character, it all stems from that culture.” He followed their examples and committed himself to achieving his dream of becoming a professional footballer, which finally came true in 2019 when he signed with Pacific FC.

Kadin Chung with his grandparents (Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC)

For Chung, his Asian heritage was still a passive fact that he had yet to embrace. Unfortunately, it would take the tragic passing of his grandfather in 2020 – during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic – for Chung to seize his family’s roots. “It was pretty inspiring,” Chung remembers learning of his grandfather’s sacrifices as a Chinese immigrant looking for a better life for his family. 

“So for me, [my grandfather] kind of being the catalyst to…the fact that he gave me a better life essentially, I want to take full advantage of that.” Chung now finds subtle ways to remember his grandfather and his heritage, “Now I wear tape on my wrist with [my grandfather’s] name on it every game.” Chung continues, “I tried to look at it as a sign that if you think this is difficult, what he had to go through was a lot worse.”

“Loyalty and the sense of family is super important with anything I do now” Kadin Chung (Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC)

Chung has never waivered on his determination and went on to win the Canadian Premier League with Pacific FC in 2021 and, the next year, lifted the Voyageurs’ Cup with Toronto FC. The now Vancouver FC player hopes that his example shows that anyone can follow their dreams regardless of preconceived notions, “I hope that [my story] shows people that just because of your background and you don’t have all a lot of people to look up to, you can progress and be a changemaker.”

Support Kadin Chung and the rest of Vancouver FC as we play our first season in the Canadian Premier League. Get your tickets here now!