After Representing Hong Kong at Asian Games, Ka Kiu (Kyle) Lau ’25 Eyes a Career Off the Pitch

Kyle Lau holds ball in front of Pomona-Pitzer scoreboard

Speaking from experience, Ka Kiu (Kyle) Lau ’25 says every young footballer in Hong Kong dreams of playing for the national football team.

As one of the select few whose dream became reality, the 21-year-old can say the thrill was everything he imagined it would be.

Lau, a forward on the Sagehens men’s soccer team, donned his home city’s uniform last fall at the Asian Games, playing in front of thousands of fans during Hong Kong’s historic run to a fourth-place finish in soccer at the Olympics-styled multi-sport extravaganza.

With his dream realized and a season remaining in his college career, the economics major is applying all he’s learned on the pitch about leadership, discipline and attentiveness to a prospective career as a financial analyst.

“I find joy in connecting the dots between financial metrics and broader economic factors,” he says, “understanding the intricacies that drive success or pose challenges for businesses as well as industries as a whole.”

In addition to coursework, Lau is a Chinese language partner at Pomona’s Oldenborg Center, teaching the language to beginning and intermediate students. As he is on the field, Lau is a comforting presence for peers who want to practice speaking or writing Chinese.

“Being able to teach parts of my culture through language,” he says, “and just seeing so many students so interested and invested in the language that is native to me brings me a lot of joy and pride.”

Born, raised and schooled in Hong Kong, Lau earned a place in the city’s national team pipeline as a dynamic striker.

In his teenage years, he traveled to Serbia, Indonesia, South Korea and other countries for tournaments—experiences that he says “gave me a good view of what soccer was like not just in Hong Kong, but abroad, in countries where the sport is at a top level.”

Lau chose to attend Pomona to pursue a liberal arts education and play for men’s soccer Coach Bill Swartz—a sincere and kind man, Lau says, who “would give his all for the team.”

From their first meeting, Swartz knew Lau would break the mold in college.

“He’s a leader,” says Swartz, who's coached the Sagehens since 1986. “Maturity, for some, might take a little time, but he was right there, leading from the start.”

“As a kid, you watch all these senior players represent Hong Kong and you dream of playing at that level.”

Lau dazzled his first year at Pomona, leading the Sagehens with six goals in 2021 and earning Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year honors and a first-team All-SCIAC nod.

“He can score goals, and not just easy ones,” Swartz says. “He knows the field, so when he plays, I let him play.”

After breaking out in 2021, Lau spent much of his sophomore season traveling to Hong Kong to attend training camps and tournaments in hopes of making the national team bound for the 2023 Asian Games.

His commitment was rewarded this past March with a spot on the senior squad, and while he had to miss most of his junior season at Pomona as a result, Lau played for his home city in Hangzhou, China, in the fall.

“It was a special feeling,” he says of wearing Hong Kong’s uniform at the Asian Games. “As a kid, you watch all these senior players represent Hong Kong and you dream of playing at that level. And when you get there, it feels so surreal. But at the same time, you carry a lot of expectation and hope that fans have for the team.”

“That’s pressure, but a good type of pressure,” he adds. “A pressure I feel proud of having.”

Being part of Hong Kong’s footballing history is something Lau says he’ll always cherish.

“You feel how important each game is, and how many fans you’re representing,” he says. “I’ll always be grateful that my professors here were really accommodating and supportive of my journey with the national team.”

As much as he reveled in wearing No. 15 for Hong Kong, Lau is looking forward to returning for his senior season as a Sagehen.

He’ll be a captain in the fall, Swartz says, and a model one at that.

“He doesn’t get bored,” Swartz adds. “Passion is an important thing, and he’s got that.”