FAS ● Mar 09, 2021
UNLEASH THE ROAR! An aspiration to unify Singaporeans through football
- Revitalised football ecosystem for our future generations with greater focus on our children and youth
Multi-stakeholder, multi-prong approach in establishing pathways to sustainable success
Singapore, 9 March 2021 – Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) today outlined details of a multi-stakeholder national project, in support of Singapore Together, entitled ‘Unleash the Roar!’ aimed at galvanising the nation’s football ecosystem and bringing sustainable success to Singapore. At the heart of the project is a long-term view to improve the standards of Singapore football across all levels, with a structured football development system that can fuel dreams of young Singaporeans.
“Uplifting Singapore football will be a national project, and I encourage all of us to rally around this common goal. It is a sport which can unite Singaporeans of all ages, races and genders. There has to be a collective unity to pursue a shared goal, all of us, working together, united, pulling in the same direction, for this project to have chance. We will continue to do our best to build a sustainable and resilient football ecosystem which Singaporeans can be proud of,” said Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law.
Unleash the Roar! aims to rally Singaporeans, inspire our next generation, and create a safe, disciplined and professional sporting ecosystem. This project will provide talented Singaporeans a shot at a professional career at the highest levels of the sport and raise the bar for Singapore’s national football teams.
The project will spark a progression in Singapore’s football ecosystem with clear pathways. This includes increasing children and youth football participation in schools, scouting and development of talented players, enhancing knowledge and skill sets of coaches, and strengthening local professional football league. Players can also look forward to opportunities for training at top football academies as well as subsequently plying their trade at top leagues around the world.
“Under Vision 2030, we have always envisioned that young Singaporeans would be given ample opportunities to play and develop their sporting talents. This Project will go a long way for us to revitalise the systems, structures and support for football, and “Unleash the Roar”. This will be a collective effort with the public-private-people sectors coming together in this Singaporean journey. Football is not just a popular sport, but also transcends social and economic boundaries. When we play, watch and cheer, the shared experience, rising above the challenges together strengthens the fabric of our communities and society,” said Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO of Sport Singapore and Co-Chair of Unleash the Roar! Executive Committee.
A Multi-Stakeholder Singapore Project
This vision of Unleash the Roar! is based on involvement of government agencies including the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth (MCCY) and the Ministry of Education (MOE), alongside SportSG, FAS, the football fraternity, corporate Singapore, and Singaporeans.
The multi-stakeholder approach is also reflected in the project’s leadership. SportSG CEO Mr Lim Teck Yin and FAS Deputy President Mr Bernard Tan will helm the Executive Committee with representatives from MOE, amongst others.
Unleash the Roar! stands apart from football’s various past blueprints in its drive to make tangible and quantifiable changes in the sport’s structure from the ground up. These changes were planned with feedback from the fraternity and with a firm commitment of support from relevant government stakeholders.
“MOE is happy to support this project and we look forward to working closely with MCCY, SportSG and FAS to identify children and youth with interest in football, and to nurture their passion and skills in this area,” said Mrs Tan Chen Kee, Divisional Director of the Student Development Curriculum Division, MOE.
FAS president Mr Lim Kia Tong hailed this approach as a game changer for Singapore football. “We are delighted to see this national project receive strong backing from the government as we look to improve the standards of Singapore football. While previous blueprints have been focused on achieving specific results, this project boosts the entire ecosystem to achieve a higher standard of football that can effectively facilitate outcomes that seek to bring pride to Singapore in a sustained manner. It is not about one outcome but implementing a platform for the future.”
In establishing multiple pathways to elite youth football, Unleash the Roar! will take on a holistic view of the Singapore football ecosystem. Through a structured programme, with equal emphasis on sporting excellence and academic performance, the project aims to expand the talent pool on the back of the National Football Curriculum. The curriculum will be implemented in schools and through the ecosystem, including public and private academies.
Scholarships to both local and overseas tertiary institutions and academies will be available to top talents to ensure education remains central even as sporting development rises to the elite level. This programme will also be supported by improved infrastructure, enhanced coaching, technical capabilities as well as sports science. More details of each pillar can be found in Annex A.
- Pillar One: Let Them Play
- Pillar Two: Let Them Soar
- Pillar Three: Scholarships
- Pillar Four: National Service
- Pillar Five: Enhanced Technical Capabilities
- Pillar Six: Science and Technology
- Pillar Seven: Infrastructure
- Pillar Eight: Whole-of-Society Partnership
“There’s no one single magic bullet that will bring football success. We will need a broad ranging reimagination and re-energising of Singapore football to ensure that key aspects are in place to set a platform for our young ones to be able to rise to a standard that can bring consistent sustainable success,” said FAS Deputy President, Mr Bernard Tan.
“This necessarily includes a big pool at the grassroots level, multiple pathways to ensure we catch late bloomers, and structures put in place for them to rise to the elite level and beyond.
Each pillar has a critical role to play in our reimagined ecosystem so that football can bring success and pride to Singapore well beyond 2034.”
An Excited Fraternity
The proposed plans for the Unleash the Roar! project is welcomed by parents and members of the local football community alike.
Mr Irwan Isnin, a father of two boys and a girl who are all deeply entrenched in the football fraternity, said: “It’s heartening to know that there are these plans to put in place a feasible and structured pathway for both boys and girls to develop and have a shot at playing professionally at a high level.
Mr Irwan’s older son is in the Singapore Sports School’s football programme, while the younger boy is part of the ActiveSG Football Academy. His daughter is in the National Under-16 squad.
“More importantly, these plans take into account the educational aspect for young footballers and ensures that they receive a good education as well – that is very important in securing the future of our children,” he added.
Mr Ong Kim Soon, Principal of Singapore Sports School, is confident that Sports School can be a valued partner in the push towards uplifting Singapore’s football.
“As a national sports academy of excellence, Singapore Sports School has an important role to play in developing the pipeline of national athletes, including football talents,” he said.
“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with stakeholders to align our goals, strengthen the football programme within Sports School, and do more community outreach, to boost interest in football, and the aspirations of football enthusiasts.”
Singapore has won four ASEAN Championships, and Mr Baihakki Khaizan, who was a part three of those title-winning Lions squads, believes the project has its fundamentals right.
“Starting off with getting feedback from the Singaporeans and the football fraternity is a good way to kick off a national project. The plan has strong fundamentals and is definitely a step in the right direction for the state of the game in Singapore. Unleash the Roar! is an ambitious project, yes, but one that starts from the ground up, and one that is much needed,” said the 137-cap Singapore international.
“We’ve always had talent in Singapore. With the right foundation put in place, full commitment from all involved, and with the backing from Singapore and Singaporeans, we can set the foundation to achieve success on the pitch.”
Annex A – Unleash the Roar!: The Eight Pillars
Annex B – 3 Phases to Unleash The Roar
Annex C – Statement by Singapore Sports School
Annex D – Statement of Support by Arsene Wenger, FIFA Chief of Global Football Development