Work hard, play hard: Jeremy Chiang's taste for food after football
On a fateful night in May 2014, Jeremy Chiang was taken from the ground on a stretcher after a collision, marking the beginning of the end of his football journey.
It was also in that moment that his foray into the culinary world would begin.
A title winner with Warriors, Chiang was an industrious right-back who ran the channels tirelessly for his team
Already 29 and at the peak of his career with Warriors FC, Chiang later learned that he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
“I remember thinking ‘what happens now?’ Is my contract going to be extended?’" the 32-year-old told FFT at his newly opened food outlet, Penang Story, at Chua Chu Kang’s Lot 1.
A title-winner with Warriors in that same 2014 season, Chiang was an industrious right-back who ran the channels tirelessly for his team.
“I had a taste of everything … I am not so proud to say that I made a big contribution, but I managed to win some trophies,” Chiang said.
Chiang's career highlight was a sole appearance for the senior national team, in a friendly match at the Rajamangala Stadium against Thailand in 2010.
“It was the best moment,” he recalled. “It was just the one cap for the Singapore team but when I came out to a fully packed stadium against Thailand with fireworks, I thought I was at a concert.
“I was crying inside and I felt like I finally made it.”
But after the highs of Chiang's career, his ACL injury was a painful blow.
The former Gombak United man couldn’t come to terms with how he left things and wanted to make amends
"I literally crashed and was lost at the moment," he added. "But I was really thankful to have my friends and family around me to encourage me."
Chiang credits his wife for supporting him through the tough times.
"I am like the left hand and she’s the right – she has the ideas and we get the best out of it. She has been the one that has stood by me since the day I tore my ligament," he said.
Chiang then made a brief comeback in 2016 for Warriors, playing a bit-part role for Razif Onn’s side. The former Gombak United man couldn’t come to terms with how he left things and wanted to make amends.
But once Chiang realised he wasn’t getting game time even though fitness was not an issue, it was time to leave.
For most local footballers, there aren't many options upon retirement, and only a handful become coaches or pundits.
For Chiang, however, life after football was always going to be about venturing into business.
He already had another job which was an extra source of income whilst playing football — performing home renovations.
“I renovated a few footballers’ houses. Like Shahdan Sulaiman, Ismadi Mukhtar, Jonny Wilkinson, I painted their house, along with some renovations.
“I wouldn’t have been a perfect choice for the job but I am thankful for them because they placed their trust in me,” Chiang noted.