FAS ● Sep 24, 2020
FAS receives affirmation in youth development efforts through AFC Elite Youth Membership
SINGAPORE, 24 SEPTEMBER 2020 – The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) has been conferred Full Membership status under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Elite Youth Scheme, which is aimed at recognising youth development efforts by Member Associations and improving the game in Asia at national and club level.
Member Associations are evaluated in 11 core areas of activity – staff, plans, competition, coaches, talent identification, medical services, sports science, education and welfare, facilities, philosophy, and academies.
“The membership signifies that AFC, the governing body of Asia, has given their seal of approval for our Youth Development plans,” said FAS Technical Director Joseph Palatsides. “It is affirmation that we are headed in the right direction to further elevate the standards of football in Singapore, a journey that we are fully committed to.”
A vital factor that contributed to Singapore’s acceptance as a full member into the scheme is the awarding of One-Star Academy status to the Lion City Sailors (LCS) Football Academy. The academy is the first in Singapore to be accorded after meeting the standards and requirements in 20 performance categories as outlined in the AFC Elite Youth Scheme.
Palatsides, who initiated the application process in late 2019 when the Academy was under Home United FC, commented: “The decision to endorse LCS Football Academy for the grading was made after careful review and assessment, including constant engagements with LCS that cemented the Academy’s alignment with the national football philosophy. They have the required infrastructure and detailed plans in place, which put them in a promising position to be accredited.”
LCS Football Academy General Manager, Tan Li Yu said: “This endorsement by the AFC is an honour, and validation that the systems and processes we have put in place give our trainees the best chance of growing into elite players. We are proud to be recognised as a One-Star academy, but we are aiming higher. This only the first step for the LCS Football Academy on our path towards becoming an elite development hub.”
With LCS having set the benchmark and the example to be emulated by other clubs, Palatsides hopes that this will bring about a domino effect in the football ecosystem.
“Our plan is not for Lion City Sailors to be the only accredited academy. We want other club academies to be accredited as well, and our role at the FAS is to continue playing the role of an enabler to make sure these academies are in the best possible state to be considered for such accreditation,” noted the former head of Melbourne City’s youth academy. “We want to assist these academies to reach the required standards, and in the process, create the shared responsibility of developing the young players. Our long-term goal is for every academy in Singapore to be accredited and have a solid developmental structure that grooms their players to be the best they can be.”
(Photo courtesy of Lion City Sailors)
Palatsides revealed that the FAS will be reaching out to provide assistance to all youth developmental centres which have expressed interest.
To begin the application process, youth developmental centres must ensure that their philosophy and technical programmes are aligned with FAS’ vision and Youth Development model. Once this has been established, the FAS will review the academy’s programmes to evaluate if the academy fulfils the criteria for accreditation and provide assistance in the preparation of documents for the application.
Having taken the first step towards setting the foundations for what he envisions in the long-term, Palatsides is aware of the work that lies ahead.
“The Youth Development Plan should be one of the highest priorities in the development of a pool of footballers at the elite level. From the grassroots level, coaching methodologies, player development pathways to competition structures… these are elements that go into making an elite footballer,” he said.
“The next step would be to start implementing the plans as quickly as we can. There is still a lot to be done and each implementation milestone in this journey is a step in the right direction towards our vision.”