FAS ● Nov 19, 2021
Unleash The Roar! Project welcomes LaLiga and Borussia Dortmund as strategic partners
Partnership will see top foreign coaches head the newly-launched School Football Academies and open pathways for Singapore youth and coaches to train and learn overseas
SINGAPORE, 19 NOVEMBER 2021 – Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) announced today that Spain’s top football league LaLiga and German club Borussia Dortmund have come on board as strategic partners to the Unleash The Roar! (UTR!) project.
The football superpowers will provide expertise in the areas of youth development, coach development and sports science, as well as help secure overseas stints for the brightest and best Singapore talent.
Specifically, LaLiga coaches will help helm key positions alongside local coaches in 10 newly-launched School Football Academies (SFAs) while Bundesliga giants Dortmund will lend their expertise and jointly develop a coach development programme with UTR!. (See Annex B for partnership details)
The partnerships will come into immediate effect and will first see LaLiga youth coaches and sports experts take on key roles at the enhanced SFAs by the first quarter of 2022. Ten SFAs will kick start a pilot project next year and change the face of youth development in Singapore, almost tripling the current base of youths exposed to a high-level of training.
Said Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth & Social and Family Development Eric Chua, “This is a significant step for the Unleash The Roar! project. For Singapore football to raise our game to play at the highest level, we must first build a strong foundation.
“The initiatives announced today will not only allow our brightest young talent better access to a higher-level of training and competition on a daily basis, but also pave pathways for them to develop their game at some of the top football institutions overseas.”
Mr Chua was also announced today as chairman of a newly-formed UTR! Executive Committee. The committee, made up of 13 members and four co-opted members, will be responsible for formulating strategies, planning, developing and supervising the implementation of the project. The committee is made up of a diverse group of individuals from both the private and public sectors, including prominent faces from the sports industry. The rich mix of the committee is in line with the ethos of the UTR! project, which is to rally Singapore behind sport in a whole-of-society effort. Please see the full list of members in ANNEX C.
Said CEO of Sport Singapore and deputy chair of the UTR! Executive Committee Lim Teck Yin: “It is important that we begin our UTR! journey with the right partners who understand the value that they bring to the table for this national project to be on strong footing.”
“The UTR! project is a collective effort, drawing on the support of the public-private-people sectors to help us achieve our goals. We are fortunate that in the Ministry of Education (MOE), our international partners, and our EXCO, we have found good teammates”
School Football Academies
A key component of the UTR! is the development of youth players. The SFAs will play a crucial role in that aspect.
Their central role is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for talented youths to hone their skills in a structured, high-quality system that allows them to maximise their potential. The SFA programme is co-designed between each SFA and UTR! with the student-athlete at the heart of it.
The SFA programme will encompass on-field training, complemented with sports science support. The development pathway will follow the National Football Curriculum (NFC) developed by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), and will cover physical, technical, mental, and tactical skills training similar to the national elite system and overseas professional leagues. All youth student-athletes in the SFAs will be supported to perform both academically and in football.
Each SFA will feature a team of full-time SFA coaches, comprising both LaLiga and local coaches. They will work closely under the leadership of the FAS Technical Director and the ActiveSG Football Academy (AFA) Principal to ensure the successful implementation of the programme. The team of coaches will be helmed by a Head Coach who will minimally possess an ‘A’ licence and relevant youth development experience. There will also be specialist coaches in the areas of goalkeeping, strength and conditioning, and performance analysts who will be engaged to provide each student-athlete the best possible training.
The SFA initiative will run as a pilot project in 2022 where the learnings will allow the programme to be refined and adjusted.
The first group of SFA schools are:
– Montfort Secondary School
– Seng Kang Secondary School
– Singapore Sports School
– Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road)
– Queensway Secondary School
– Serangoon Garden Secondary School
– Meridian Secondary School
– St Patrick’s School
– Assumption English School
– Jurongville Secondary School
Each of the schools above will feature a boys’ SFA and will commence in January 2022. UTR! is currently working with MOE to establish SFAs for girls.
Beginning with the Secondary 1s in 2022, the programme will progressively expand to include all four years in each SFA by 2025. It is expected that about 1,400 boys and girls will be a part of the programme eventually. This is close to triple the 500 boys and girls who are presently receiving elite training at the Under-15 and U17 level.
A key component of the SFA will see the students train four times a week, up from the average of two in most football programmes at secondary schools. The youths will also play competitively throughout the year, with a tournament planned among SFAs, AFA Development Centres, and possibly private football academies from 2023 onwards.
Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) Principal Mr Loo Ming Yaw said: “Our school is excited to be an SFA and we look forward to being able to leverage on the programme to maximise our students’ individual potential in the sport. As educators and developers of our youth, we are excited by the possibilities, not least because the programme takes a holistic approach to individual development, combining both academic pursuits with football development.”
Said FAS deputy president and UTR! Executive Committee deputy chair Bernard Tan: “We designed the SFAs with both students and parents in mind. We want the SFAs to focus on the sporting development and support the academic needs of students so that they have a conducive environment to excel. Parents need not worry about shuttling to various locations within a day and can have peace of mind that their child’s needs are better taken care of.
“The SFAs will be a game-changer for football youth development as it almost triples the footballing cohort of youths training at a high level every year. This translates to more options for national youth selectors and further downstream, increases the chance of unearthing a rare gem who can excel on a bigger stage.”
Damai Primary School student Anas Khan is hoping he will be in the inaugural SFA batch next year.
Damai Primary does not have a football team but that has not stopped the 12-year-old from honing his skills at Kaki Bukit Sports Club under the watchful eyes of former international Malek Awab.
Said Anas’ father, Amir: “When we heard about the SFA and the programme it will offer, especially in an MOE school environment, I’m so happy. I believe it is a good starting point. They will receive the right support to excel both academically and in football. The programme will definitely be able to take our footballing talents to the next level.”
About Unleash The Roar!
A vision to unite Singaporeans through sport by growing football excellence and creating more opportunities for young Singaporeans, boys and girls, to develop their talents and chase their dreams at the highest level. UTR! also aims to bring Singaporeans together to cheer on Singapore football at all levels. The project, led by SportSG and the Football Association of Singapore has eight pillars of implementation, from building interest among the young, to developing multiple pathways, and raising capabilities and national service, among others.
About Sport Singapore
As the national sports agency, Sport Singapore’s core purpose is to inspire the Singapore spirit and transform Singapore through sport. Through innovative, fun and meaningful sporting experiences, our mission is to reach out and serve communities across Singapore with passion and pride. With Vision 2030 – Singapore’s sports master plan, our mandate goes beyond winning medals. Sport Singapore uses sport to create greater sporting opportunities and access, more inclusivity and integration as well as broader development of capabilities. At Sport Singapore, we work with a vast network of public-private-people sector partners for individuals to live better through sport.
To find out more, visit our websites www.sportsingapore.gov.sg and www.myactivesg.com.
About the Football Association of Singapore
The Football Association of Singapore is responsible for developing and advancing the game at all levels. Providing a structure for the game to flourish and governing the running of football in Singapore, the FAS also ensures that the Laws of the Game are adhered to, from the professional league to amateur leagues.
The FAS also manages the organisation and running of league and cup competitions, the stewardship of international teams, the establishment of youth development, women’s football, refereeing and coaching frameworks.
The mission of the FAS is to enhance lives by leading innovative development of competitive and recreational football in Singapore together with all our partners.
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Annex A: National Football Curriculum
The National Football Curriculum (NFC) outlines Singapore’s football youth development model based on the National Playing Philosophy. It also encompasses the National Coaching Philosophy, which aligns coaches on ideologies and methods as they train young footballers. The NFC will provide Singapore coaches and footballers with a consistent, structured and detailed approach to youth development in Singapore.
The NFC will establish a style of play that is representative of the Singaporean culture – fearless, resilient, exciting, proactive and organised. It will advocate for a pro-active, possession based, high tempo style of play. The methodologies behind the style of play are carefully curated to support optimal team engagement and showcase the united spirit of football. It has been enhanced building on the good work of current and former FAS staff, and is modelled after best practices in world football.
The selection of LaLiga as a key partner in helping to develop Singapore youths on a day to day basis is based on the notion that the model we want to implement is most compatible with the Spanish model.
A robust, systematic approach will be used as a basis for developing youth teams to learn from. This approach will be integrated into FAS’ Coach Education System, to ensure all coaches understand and are able to implement it successfully in a consistent manner.
Annex B: Partnership Details
Partnership with LaLiga
The partnership with LaLiga will see the deployment of experienced Spanish youth coaches in the local football ecosystem in phases. The coaches’ experience in grooming some of the world’s top talents under a coaching philosophy similar to the one Singapore is adopting will help form a strong foundation for youth football.
The first group of Spanish coaches will be deployed to the SFAs (secondary schools), where they will work alongside local coaches as part of a natural integration process. With the shared learnings and gained experience, Singapore coaches will eventually be able to continue leading the SFAs and football clubs to deliver training more holistically.
Said Ivan Codina, Managing Director of LaLiga Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea and Australia: “Since LaLiga set up its Regional Office in the strategic hub of Singapore, we have been aiding in the development of the football ecosystem in the region and to be able to be integrated into Singapore’s national undertaking is exciting, as we aid in the development of generations of footballers. We look forward to lending our expertise to many more areas beyond the School Football Academies, and to one day see a Singaporean fly the flag high on the pitch in Spain.”
“Youth development in Spanish football is something that both clubs and the league place utmost importance in, and through the learnings developed across the years, we trust that we will not only impart knowledge but most importantly empower local coaches to be the protagonists in this pursuit of a better football ecosystem across all levels, “ added Juan Florit, Head of LaLiga Football Projects.
Partnership with Borussia Dortmund
Developing local coaches, especially at the youth level, is a priority for the success of the project. To this end, UTR! has entered into a strategic partnership with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund is a world leader in the areas of youth and coaching development – having produced some of the world’s top talent such as Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and PSV’s Mario Gotze.
The partnership will see BVB help customise a UTR! coach development programme for promising youth coaches, to be launched by 2022. Youth development coaching workshops between local and BVB coaches will also be held, where best practices and latest trends and insights can be shared.
“We are proud and privileged for this opportunity to be providing our youth and coaching expertise and philosophies to UTR! and most importantly to the footballing family in Singapore. With the support of our BVB APAC office here in Singapore led by Singaporean, Suresh Letchmanan and his team as well as The Bundesliga’s further presence here in the Lion City, I’m sure we have a wonderful synergy to take the initial first steps forward towards kick starting the UTR! project.” said Benedikt Scholz, Managing Director of BVB Football Academy & Head of International Borussia Dortmund.
Annex C – UTR! Executive Committee Members
Mr Eric Chua Swee Leong
Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Social and Family Development
Mr Eric Chua previously served in the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Ministry of Home Affairs for 17 years before being elected into Parliament in July 2020. Eric is a strong advocate of social mobility. He spent most of the past 15 years of community service working with youth, including serving as a mentor for ITE students. As a doe-eyed teenager years back, Eric like many of his peers, was mesmerized by the electric atmosphere at the former Kallang Stadium whenever our “Dream Team” took on rival sides. Through his participation in this project, he hopes to play a role – together with partners and friends – to unleash the roar for Singapore football!
Mr Lim Teck Yin
At Sport Singapore, Mr Lim developed the ActiveSG Academies and Clubs, designed to develop the child’s character, values and life skills through fun, high quality and holistic sports programmes. The ActiveSG Football Academy is one of the key platforms to widen the participation of football, and its Development Centres to complement the School Football Academies to deliver high performance training and competitions to aspiring youth footballers.
Mr Bernard Tan
Deputy President, FAS
Mr Bernard Tan is the Country President for Singapore, and the Managing Director for Strategic Projects and International Business Development for the Sinar Mas Group. Prior to joining Sinar Mas, Mr Tan was in the Singapore Armed Forces and after retirement, he joined DBS Bank where he was Managing Director and Country Head of Taiwan and Indonesia for six years. After DBS Bank, he was the Chief Marketing Officer in ST Engineering.
Mr Tan is also a Director in Premier Corporation, a Board Member of the Singapore Sports School and a member of the Catholic Junior College’s School Management Committee.
Mr Krishnan Aravinthan
Physical, Sports and Outdoor Education Branch (PSOEB), Ministry of Education
As Director of PSOEB, Mr Krishnan Aravinthan is responsible for shaping policies and programmes that enable teaching and learning of physical, sports and outdoor education. A firm believer of student’s holistic development, he continues to advocate this in his other capacity as Advisor to both the Schools Sports Councils.
Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang
President, Singapore National Paralympic Council
President, Singapore Disability Sports Council
President, Special Olympics Singapore
As the President of SNPC, SDSC and Singapore Olympics Singapore, Dr Teo-Koh is a driver of disability and inclusive sports in Singapore and believes that individual and collective role is crucial in the promotion of inclusion in sports.
A fundamental movement expert with specialisations in adapted physical activity, growth and motor development, and Olympic education, Dr Teo-Koh also serves as a board member across various organisations including the International Paralympic Committee’s Agitos Foundation and the Singapore Sports School. Dr Teo-Koh is also a Justice of the Peace.
Ms Michele Lee
Former National Women’s Football Captain
A former football international, Ms Michele Lee captained the Singapore women’s team over a period of 10 years, spanning three Southeast Asian Games. She is passionate about the women’s game, and the developmental role that sport plays. Ms Lee is currently a Deputy Director at the Singapore Tourism Board, and a council member of the FAS women’s committee.
Mr James Walton
Sports Business Leader, Deloitte Singapore & SEA
Mr James Walton is the Sports Business Group Leader and Clients & Markets Leader for Deloitte Southeast Asia. Mr Walton also sits on the Women’s Football Committee of FAS and the Board of Netball Singapore, and has supported more than 40 National Sports Associations in their strategic planning in recent years.
Mr Desmond Ong
Chairman, Tampines Rovers FC
With over 20 years of legal experience, Mr Desmond Ong has been consistently named as a leading individual in the Asia Pacific Legal 500, in both the dispute resolution and corporate categories – one of the very few individuals to be cited in both sections.
An avid sportsman, Mr Ong has been the chairman of Tampines Rovers FC since 2017. He had also served as a director of the Singapore Dance Theatre from 2005 to 2020.
Mr R. Sasikumar
CEO, Red Card Global
Owner, Admiralty FC
A former Singapore international with over 70 caps, Mr R. Sasikumar currently manages Red Card Global, a sports marketing firm, helms a sports radio show on CNA938 and is also a sports pundit.
He is most renowned for scoring the winning and solitary goal for Singapore in the 1998 AFF Football Championship finals with his shoulder blade, one which won Singapore their first major football title.
Mr Lionel Lewis
Council Member, FAS
A former Singapore international Goalkeeper with 73 caps, Mr Lionel Lewis made his international debut in 2002 and was nominated for the 2006 Asian Footballer of the Year award. After his retirement from professional football, he has been at Nanyang Polytechnic Student Development, developing students particularly in the area of Sports. He is currently a council member of FAS and on the board of Netball Singapore.
Mr Tan Meng Wei
Father of youth footballers Danelle and Merrick Tan
Mr Tan Meng Wei is a father of 4. His daughter, Danelle represented the Singapore Women’s National team at the age of 14. One of his sons, Merrick, currently plays for the Lion City Sailors Elite U15s. Mr Tan is a former banker and management consultant and is currently the CEO of a local business.
Ms Shahrany Hassan
Founder, The Whitehatters
Ms Shahrany Hassan is the founder and director of The Whitehatters, an NGO which focuses on community development, particularly on issues that underpin the state of social cohesion in Singapore, such as race, religion and integration. She is also the Chairperson for Casa Raudha, a charity that stands against domestic violence and one that provides a crisis shelter for abused women and children, and is part of the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Alliance For Action to strengthen marriages and family relationships.
Ms Shahrany is also an active member of the Founders’ Memorial Committee. Most importantly, she’s a soccer mom whose son was a student athlete with Singapore Sports School and his most ardent supporter and fan.
Mr Chin Sau Ho
Senior Director (Community Partnerships & Communications), Singapore Pools
Mr Chin Sau Ho held senior positions in both the government and private sectors; with experience in Corporate Communications, Crisis Management and IT in the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Defence, SPRING Singapore, Singapore Sports Hub and currently as Senior Director, Community Partnerships and Communications at Singapore Pools where he has been working with FAS since 2018 on initiatives to impart and inculcate the love for football especially among our youth.
Mr Chin is also a District Councillor with South East CDC and previously serving the community in Changi Simei constituency both as Vice Chairman and as a volunteer football coach for the 6 years for the PAssion Children Football.
Mr Philippe Aw
Interim Technical Director, FAS
A former player and police officer, Mr Philippe Aw spent a decade at Home United Football Club, coaching from youth to senior first team level. In his time there, he also helped set up the Home United FC Kids Academy. In 2016, he led a Singapore Selection to victory in the Sultan of Selangor Cup. He later became the Head Coach of Hougang United Football Club before joining FAS.
As Head Coach of the National Youth Teams, Mr Aw took charge of the National U15s, U16s and most recently the Young Lions team that is participating in the Singapore Premier League. He is also a FAS Coach Developer and a Sports SG Coach Mentor, regularly sharing his learned experience with other coaches through the Game For Life Mentoring Programme.
Mr Aleksandar Duric
Principal, ActiveSG Football Academy
Mr Aleksandar Duric is a former professional footballer, debuting for the Singapore National Team at the age of 37 in 2007. He retired from international football in December 2012 with a record of 24 goals in 53 matches. Since 1999, when he first began competing in the then-S.League, he has gone on to win 8 league titles and 3 Singapore Cups in 16 seasons, amassing 3 Player of the Year, and 4 top scorer awards while becoming the league’s all-time top scorer. He now pursues his passion of developing youth football talent, having served as the Principal of the ActiveSG Football Academy since 2016.
Dr Su Chun Wei
Chief, Singapore Sports Institute
Director, National Youth Sports Institute
Dr Su Chun Wei is Chief, Singapore Sport Institute (SSI) and Director, National Youth Sport Institute (NYSI). Since joining SportSG in 2011, he had worked on various projects ranging from high performance sport to community sport and Active Health. Dr Su earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the National University of Singapore and he is a registered Professional Engineer (Singapore) and Chartered Engineer (UK).
Mr Ong Kim Soon
Principal, Singapore Sports School
Mr Ong Kim Soon was appointed as the Principal of Singapore Sports School on 15 Dec 2019.
Prior to his appointment to the Singapore Sports School, Mr Ong served as the Director for Physical, Sports, and Outdoor Education in the Ministry of Education Headquarters. Mr Ong joined MOE as a teacher in 1991. He taught and held various appointments in different schools, including being the Principal of St. Hilda’s Secondary School before his posting to MOE HQ on 15 Dec 2010.
Annex D – Unleash the Roar!: The Eight Pillars
Pillar One: Let Them Play
Conditions in place by 2022:
- Nationwide adoption of FAS’ National Football Curriculum delivered by FAS-certified coaches
- Revamped National Accreditation System (Coaching & Academies)
- Revamped competitions with expanded reach and adjusted format
- Unified curriculum with strong local coaches developed at all levels.
- Stronger interest, increased participation and healthier lifestyle amongst children
- Steady stream of players for School Football Academies (SFA)
- Conducive training environment with inculcation of strong values
Pillar Two: Let Them Soar
The second pillar of the project is aimed at improving the training structure, including establishing multiple pathways to the pinnacle of the youth game.
Conditions in place by 2022:
- Selection system of players based on suitability (talent, character and commitment)
- Up to 10-16 SFAs with FAS coaching team and infrastructure (both local and foreign coaches)
- Enhanced National Accreditation System (coaching & academies)
- Established Youth League for SFAs with invitation of credible international school teams to participate
- Alternative pathways and competitions for development of players outside of SFAs.
- Unified Curriculum with strong local and foreign coaches.
- Ensure talent outside of the SFAs are part of this project.
- Conducive training environment with inculcation of strong values
Pillar Three: Infrastructure
Conditions in place by 2022:
- More school fields to be floodlit
- Indoor sports halls to be allocated for Futsal (Dual-Use Scheme [DUS] Schools)
- 5 Shared Stadiums and 10 Training Venues.
- High Performance Centre for Football
- Review of quality of football fields for SPL Clubs
- Increase playable space for football & futsal
- Improved football pitches for the SPL Clubs.
- Capture data for the development of players and teams at the project’s High Performance Centre
Pillar Four: Scholarships
Conditions in place by 2022:
Overseas Football Scholarships
- Identification and establishment partnership with about 5 foreign universities/clubs (Australia, Europe and America)
- Establish criteria for foreign scholarships
Football Scholarships for Foreign Sports Talents (FST)
- Establishment of scouting network within Local Private Academies and identified foreign countries (focus on Central Europe and ASEAN/Asia)
- Identification of 10 talented young footballers for local FST Football Scholarship (player should be at least 13-15 years old)
- Agreement by SFA/SSP for emplacement for local scholarship
- Provides the player and their parents with a sense of confidence that football and academia can co-exist without compromise of one over the other.
- Football Scholarships to provide talented footballers with a sustainable and attractive livelihood
- Supplement local talent development with foreign sports talent in Singapore.
Pillar Five: National Service
MINDEF will continue to support high-potential national footballers through MINDEF’s existing provisions, which include early voluntary enlistment, short postponements of enlistment, and time-off to train for major competitions, which will allow sportsmen to do well while still fulfilling their NS obligations.
Pillar Six: Enhanced Technical Capabilities
Conditions in place by 2022:
- Aligned pathway development for players, coaches, and parents
- MOU with key international partners
- All technical coaches and personnel to be updated in the National Football Curriculum
- On-boarding programme for players, coaches, technical personnel and parents
- Scouting and talent identification network to be established
- Singapore’s top players to play in top overseas leagues in Europe and Asia
- International competitions hosted in Singapore (For example: Merlion Cup, Lion City Cup, AFC qualifying competitions)
- Increase in number of AFC Elite Youth Scheme Accreditations.
Pillar Seven: Science and Technology
- Implementation of National wide Athlete Monitoring database system
- Awareness and embracement of Science & Technology
- Coaches and support staff suitable trained and educated
- Identification of Key Sport Scientist and Analyst positions for all SPL Clubs, National and Age Group teams
- Professionalism of athletes and coaches systematically using technology for enhancing DTE and competition analysis
- Centralized High-Performance Football Centre to coordinate the alignment of philosophy
- Data driven entertainment (broadcasting)
- Enhance Job creation and attachment opportunities in the technology area
Pillar Eight: Whole-of-Society Partnership
Members from the public-private-people sectors can go beyond supporting as a financial supporter and to actually serve as community partners and work with Singaporeans to support these programmes that create shared experiences and mutual understanding and encourage Singaporeans to live better through Sport.
Annex E – 3 phases to Unleash The Roar!
Phase 1: CORE (Establishing conditions)
Timeframe: 2021 – 2022
All conditions to increase participation at the base of the pyramid to drive the Unleash the Roar! project to be in place. This includes the National Curriculum, participation in schools, implementation of 10-15 School Football Academies and scholarship programmes.
Phase 2: CHARGING AHEAD (Expansion)
Timeframe: 2023 – 2027
Execution of all strategies in the 8 pillars
Phase 3: OUTCOMES (Performing in tournaments)
Timeframe: 2028 – 2033
Final push towards qualification for World Cup in 2034 as an aspirational milestone