Football: Unleash the Roar! Project welcomes LaLiga and Borussia Dortmund as Strategic Partners

Top Coaches from Spanish Football League and German Football Giants to head new School Football Academies, and provide expertise in coach development and sport science

File photo: SportPlus.SG


19 November 2021, Singapore - Singapore football received a welcome boost after news that the Unleash The Roar! (UTR) project has sealed strategic partnerships with Spanish Football League LaLiga and German football club Borussia Dortmund.


According to Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), the partnership will witness top coaches from LaLiga head the newly-launched School Football Academies and open pathways program, paving the way for Singapore youth and coaches to train and learn overseas.


The new partners for UTR, who are from the top of the global football pyramid, will provide expertise in the areas of youth development, coach development and sports science, and create opportunities for overseas stints for the brightest and best Singapore football talents.

Image via Lion City Sailors Football Academy


While LaLiga's coaches will help helm key positions alongside local coaches in 10 newly-launched School Football Academies (SFAs), the partnership with Bundesliga giants Dortmund will see the top German football club lend their expertise and jointly develop a coach development programme with UTR!.


These partnerships will take immediate effect, with LaLiga's youth coaches and sports experts taking on key roles at the enhanced SFAs by as early as the first quarter of 2022.


Ten SFAs will kick start a pilot project next year, which experts believe will triple the current base of youths exposed to elite level football training, something that many talented Singaporean youth footballers of previous generations did not have access to.

Image via SportSG


National Football Identity


In a briefing with members of media, Philippe Aw, who was head coach of the Young Lions for the 2021 AIA Singapore Premier League season, shared that Singapore hopes to develop its own football identity and brand of football.


Aw also used data from the past three SEA Games to show how the Singapore football team has fallen short of their regional rivals due to lacking dominance in possession and passing accuracy.


He then pointed to some impressive results of the Lion City Sailors Football Academy on a tour of Europe recently, indicating that for Singapore football to excel at an elite level it is possible, but that even then winning isn't everything in the early stages of football development. In order to succeed however, Singapore would need a much bigger base of football talent who are exposed to elite level training from a young age.

Image via Lion City Sailors Football Academy


Building a Strong Foundation


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.”

Image via SportSG


“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,” said CEO of Sport Singapore and deputy chair of the UTR! Executive Committee Lim Teck Yin.


“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


The first group of SFA schools are:


North

- Montfort Secondary School

- Seng Kang Secondary School

- Singapore Sports School


South

- Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road)

- Queensway Secondary School

- Serangoon Garden Secondary School


East

- Meridian Secondary School

- St Patrick’s School


West

- Assumption English School

- Jurongville Secondary School

Image via SportSG


"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," shared FAS deputy president and UTR! Executive Committee deputy chair Bernard Tan. "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."


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.


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