SINGAPORE - The ActiveSG Football Academy was officially launched on Saturday morning at Jurong East Stadium by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and academy principal Aleksandar Duric.
The new academy, backed by ActiveSG, the national movement for sport, have started to accept sign ups for its June holiday programme from May 28 to June 26. The programme is targeting to have 500 primary school pupils across five training centres (Bedok Stadium, Jurong East Stadium, Queenstown Stadium, Serangoon Stadium and Woodlands Stadium).
Each centre will be run by a team of coaches, and three 1½ hours training sessions will be held per week during the school holidays. It will be reduced to two sessions - on Saturday and Sunday - during the school term.
The programme adopts its core syllabus from the Football Association of Singapore's grassroots manual developed by its technical director Michel Sablon last year. Just like what the Belgian has suggested in its blueprint, the ActiveSG academy also aims to promote and develop football among children aged six and above.
Led by some 30 volunteer coaches, 350 children got a taste of the programme on Saturday morning, when they were put through basic kicking and dribbling drills.
Past and present national football stars including Terry Pathmanathan, Quah Kim Song, Steven Tan, Lionel Lewis, Razali Saad, Lim Tong Hai, and Gabriel Quak were also present to interact with the children and their families.
Ms Fu said: "The academy will create opportunities for many more young Singaporeans to learn the sport. I am happy to note that the academy has already received strong support from former Team Singapore players and other partners.
"In time to come, we will have a wider talent pool, and a strong, more cohesive football community."
Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said the programme will give opportunities for non-school team players to develop their skills.
He said: "There are many boys and girls in Singapore who enjoy playing football, but may not have the best platform to further their development and understanding of the sport, especially if they are not part of their school team.
The academy will provide children in Singapore, in school teams or otherwise, with a consistent and systematic approach to learning football as they start out, and progressively guide them along as they grow older."
Participants will also get to benefit from a new tie-up with S-League club Tampines Rovers.
Under the partnership, the Stags' coaches and players will make guest appearances at the programmes, while participants can look forward to half-time kickabouts, escorting of players on to the pitch, as well as stadium tours during Tampines' home games.
Said Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra: "We're taking a national approach to football, working together (with ActiveSG) at a youth level to get them (the children) having fun with the sport."
There will be free trial clinics conducted by the academy this month and May leading up to the start of the programme.
Parents who are interested to sign their child up for the programme can do so at the event itself or at www.myactivesg.com/start-out/children-youth/academy/football.