Football: 5 things to know about Singaporean midfielder Christopher van Huizen

LionsXII midfielder Christopher van Huizen celebrating his goal against Johor Darul Takzim II (JDT II) in the Malaysia FA Cup quarter-final match at Jalan Besar Stadium on April 8, 2015.
LionsXII midfielder Christopher van Huizen celebrating his goal against Johor Darul Takzim II (JDT II) in the Malaysia FA Cup quarter-final match at Jalan Besar Stadium on April 8, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

In many cases, winners of reality television shows tend to disappear out of the spotlight after a while but local football sensation Christopher van Huizen's stock has continued to rise.

Just last year, he was struggling as a reserve at S-League club Tampines Rovers but given his chance by LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad, the winger made a big impact this season, often coming off the bench to create chances or scoring goals himself. It was such sparkling form that earned him a national team call-up last month although he did not play against Afghanistan and Cambodia in the World Cup qualifiers.

But van Huizen continued to impress with the LionsXII as he scored another goal in the 2-1 Malaysia Cup win at Terengganu that sent his team to the quarter-finals.

Here are five things that you need to know about van Huizen.

1. Van Huizen did not take the conventional route up the ranks in the football scene by joining an S-League club. The winger first emerged in Nike's reality TV show The Chance in 2010, where he finished third in the football talent contest. In 2013, he made the final cut in another programme called First XI. A year later, he signed for Tampines Rovers.

2. Although the Eurasian player was good enough to finish third in The Chance, van Huizen missed out on the top prize of a trial in London, where Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will select eight players for the Nike Academy. Van Huizen defined this moment as "one of the lowest points of my career".


Christopher van Huizen taking a shot at training, as LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad looks on, on Sept 10, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

3. However, things went south at Tampines as he made just four appearances and he thought of hanging up his boots before Fandi signed him up to play in the Malaysian Super League. He was on the bench for the initial stages of the season but as the campaign wore on, Fandi unleashed the 22-year-old. After two goals and six assists in 13 games, the coach proudly declared van Huizen as his "impact player".


LionsXII footballer Christopher van Huizen doing skateboard stunts. PHOTO: MARCUS TAY

4. The former ITE College West student's also uses his fancy footwork in another sport. A skateboarding enthusiast since he was 16, van Huizen skates in his downtime and even thought of working in a skate shop last year when his football career was not going according to plan.

5. Before he was a footballer, van Huizen was making his mark on the running track, representing his primary school St. Michael's School (now known as St Joseph's Institution Junior) as a hurdler.