SINGAPORE - ITE College football hopefuls will now stand a chance to make it to the S-League thanks to a new Adidas-ITE collaboration that was inked on Thursday (July 28) morning.
The five-year partnership aims to develop talented students in sports and promote sporting values through community outreach programmes.
To kickstart the partnership, an inaugural Adidas-ITE Football Challenge Cup will be held in August in which 80 teams from all three ITE colleges will compete for one of 16 spots in the Adidas-ITE Super League.
Outstanding players in the Super League will then be hand-picked to join the Adidas-ITE Rising Stars football team. Funded, coached and equipped by Adidas, Rising Stars with potential will then be given opportunities to turn professional for a S-League club.
This initiative has fuelled the dreams of many football hopefuls, including that of Irfan Abdul Rahman, who currently plays for ITE College Central's football team.
"I hope to join the Rising Stars team, and then move on to the Prime League or the S-League," said the 19-year-old marine engineering student. An Arsenal fan since primary five, he joined his secondary school's football team in secondary three and plays football almost daily.
He said: "It's a chance to shine. I hope I'll be able to enhance my skills while playing against other ITE students."
While the focus is currently on football, the partnership hopes to expand the programme to include more sports in the future.
"We wanted to do something well first before expanding," said ITE principal Dr Ang Kiam Wee. "So we decided to start with something that our students love a lot - football.
"Football encompasses the collaboration's strong emphasis on values. It's loved by spectators, and can also promote values beyond the field."
Ng Chee Loon, Adidas Singapore's country manager, also emphasised the company's belief in empowering talents through investment.
"The investment has to come first, not results," he said. "These students are at their prime, and we want to allow them to be their best."
The Adidas-ITE scheme will also appoint 35 students as Sports Ambassadors to promote sportsmanship to their peers under the mentorship of ITE alumnus Fandi Ahmad.
Former national captain Fandi said: "It is a fabulous day for football. This partnership between Adidas and ITE ignites a new chapter in the development of youth football in Singapore."