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LaLiga Academy becomes Unleash The Roar!’s first overseas training partner

Singapore national football project Unleash The Roar! to introduce girls’ School Football Academies in 2023


Singapore, 28 November 2022 – The Unleash The Roar! (UTR!) national football project will work with Spain’s LaLiga Academy as its first overseas training partner to help groom Singapore’s brightest footballers. The UTR! project will also introduce two girls’ School Football Academies (SFAs) in 2023 for the first time.

Partnerships with established sport excellence centres such as LaLiga Academy is an important building block for the UTR! ecosystem as it creates more pathways for Singapore’s best and most promising talent to pursue their football aspirations. The LaLiga Academy is part of the Madrid-based ESC (Education Sports Coliving) LaLiga & NBA, a youth excellence facility dedicated to grooming both football and basketball talent. The football programme has hosted promising youth from Japan and South Korea.


Speaking in Spain, where he visited the first batch of 20 UTR! footballers currently on a month-long attachment at ESC LaLiga & NBA, Mr Eric Chua, UTR! Executive Committee Chairman and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development said:

“We want to build a youth football development ecosystem where our talented youth get full support in their football and academic pursuits. Bringing them out of Singapore challenges our youth beyond their comfort zone and gives them opportunities to train and compete with the best. ESC LaLiga & NBA is an excellent example of the type of partners we want to work with to groom the next generation of footballers. It is a purpose-built sport excellence centre that houses an international school, student accommodation, and sports facilities where our youth can be immersed in a high-performance setting.”


To expose budding male and female footballers to higher levels of football training and intensity, UTR! will send student footballers on short to medium-term attachments with UTR!’s overseas training partners, starting with ESC LaLiga & NBA.

The first batch of UTR! footballers in Spain

The first batch of UTR! footballers currently in Spain on the month-long training award trip comprises boys aged 12 and 13 from the SFA programme, the ActiveSG Football Academy Development Centres and the Football Association of Singapore’s talent identification programme.


They played four friendly matches against youth sides from Spanish clubs Rayo Vallecano, Getafe, Fuenlabrada and Atletico Madrid. They will spend the final week of the Nov 5 - Dec 2 trip attached to Spanish clubs Real Sociedad, Deportivo Alaves, Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid and Levante.

UTR! head coach for the attachment Jaime Serra said the training trip was a great end to a busy year of football for our young talents. It has allowed the boys to continue their football education in a professional environment where the training methodology is similar to how we train them at the SFAs.


“ESC LaLiga & NBA is an ideal partner because their training methodology is similar to what we have under the National Football Curriculum. We want to develop our boys and girls to understand better the crucial moments in a game, such as the transition between defence and attack. We also want to expose them to higher standards of play.”

“It was satisfying to see the boys put into practice what they have learnt and apply that in match settings against quality opposition,” said Head Coach Jaime Serra.


Joshua Chong, a Secondary One participant from Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), was initially worried about being homesick: “We spent a few days adjusting to the weather and the daily training environment. The daily training, competitions with Spanish clubs and classroom lessons have helped me improve my game.”

But it was not only players who benefitted from the trip. SFA coaches who accompanied the boys on the trip also had coaching workshops with LaLiga coaches.

SFA coach Afiq Yahya was thankful for the experience at ESC Madrid: “There is nothing like attending the coaching workshops in person with the LaLiga facilitators, we had sessions on LaLiga Methodology, Game Model and individual training. We could ask questions and exchange views, and I have benefitted greatly in my development journey as a coach for youth football.”


Introduction of girls’ SFAs for 2023

The UTR! project also announced that two girls’ SFAs will be introduced in 2023 for the first time. Woodlands Secondary School will have a football programme for its students, while Methodist Girls’ School will partner with Boon Lay Secondary School and Westwood Secondary School for the programme.

There will be a total of 12 SFAs in 2023, of which 10 will have SFA programmes for boys. Over 550 male and female footballers aged 13 to 16 are expected to be on the SFA programmes in 2023. This is an increase from the 300 youths in the pilot SFA programme launched this year.

Philippe Aw, Assistant Technical Director of FAS: “Using the National Football Curriculum as the guiding philosophy, we have designed the SFA programme to emphasise the fundamental technical development of each SFA footballer, building a strong foundation for them to improve and progress on their footballing journey.”


“The players need to be comfortable on the ball and be familiar with the style of football we would like to play. Off the field, the players have also benefitted from working with our sports scientists to refine their techniques and have become more aware of the importance of nutrition and recovery. More importantly, the players will be developed holistically as all-rounded individuals.”

Apart from participating in the National School Games next year, the SFAs will compete in SFA tournaments in 2023.


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