We first met Eugene Kan when he was the managing editor of Hypebeast. We got connected through a mutual friend who knew that we shared a love of the game and a broader interest in culture and how it affects the sport. With all the things that Eugene has on his plate (including his new venture MAEKAN), he still takes time to train and stay on top of his game. Below Eugene tells us about his "Love for the Game."
In my youth, I’m not sure how much I actually loved playing football. My connection with the sport was never about spectating, since we lived in Mountain Standard Time which is just slightly better than Pacific Standard Time for watching European football. I usually played at the highest level possible through much of my youth but no moments really stick out where I “enjoyed it.” My desire to play was more to “not lose” than to actually get some exercise or meet friends. It was tortuous in a way, to do your best to avoid the feeling of not losing because that was the emotion you were fixated on. I often equated my dedication to football as a way to be connected with my dad cause he cared so much about football. He wasn’t a pushy parent that had greater aspirations for me to go to the next level, it was just his passion. He spent a lot of time working but he always made time to take me to football so I cherished those opportunities.
But the moment that sort of changed for me was when I went off to university and made the team my first year without any particular preparation or expectation. It was never my belief that I’d be able to step up to the next level in a more meaningful environment beyond the club level. But it opened my eyes and all of a sudden a dedicated set-up allowed me to really take things seriously. The ability to train 5-6 days a week with all the support staff all of a sudden accelerated my interest in the sport and my growth as a player. After my first year, I elected to disconnect from a typical lifestyle and just cut out the booze and partying for the most part. I sat on the bench for all four years as a back-up goalkeeper and probably gave up a lot of “fun times,” but there’s no regret there at all.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. Now looking back, sport at a high level really puts forth a lot of great qualities that transcend into other parts of your life. If you have the dedication to apply what you’ve learned in sports to other parts of your life, I don’t doubt that success awaits you.
I have grown to love the sport even more. The complexity of football on a physical, tactical and technical level makes it sport you’ll never ever master. The lifestyle element and how cultures across the world interact with it means there are amazing stories to be told globally. Whether it’s hearing about the fans of a team that will perennially never get promoted or breaking down what a goalkeeper should have done on a conceded goal, I’m never at a loss for talking points.