Photo credit: UNLEASH THE ROAR!

Unleash The Roar! scholarship to be launched later in 2023, footballers to be sent to overseas academies

The national football development centre will be the main training centre for the national youth squads.

Edwin Chan

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Published: 6 March 2023, 3:18 PM

The inaugural Unleash The Roar! (UTR) scholarship will be made available to suitable footballers later this year, shared Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong at the Committee of Supply debate on Monday (Mar 6).

Under the scholarship, suitable footballers will be sent to overseas academies that offer “good-quality education” alongside “the best football training environment”.

“They will come back with qualifications that will allow them to continue further studies at the tertiary level in Singapore or overseas,” said Mr Tong. He added that a few promising youths will take on the scholarship this year.

Local scholarships will also be available for suitable footballers who choose to enrol in the Singapore Sports School.

As part of the UTR programme launched in 2021, 12 School Football Academies (SFAs) have since been set up, with two offering dedicated programmes for girls. According to Mr Tong, the number of SFAs and programme intakes will be expanded.

A national football development centre will be set up as the main training centre for the national youth squads. Within this centre, players will be selected into core and reserve teams. The teams will be reviewed periodically to “ensure the players’ competitiveness”.

Mr Tong also shared that coach licensing and renewal will be introduced after coaches have acquired the necessary Continued Coach Education hours.

“We will also find suitable opportunities for our coaches to learn from the best. For example, our partnership with Spanish LaLiga has allowed us to bring in experienced youth coaches from Spain to augment our local coaches, as well as provide overseas learning opportunities for them,” he said.

Mr Tong added that developing talent “takes time” and the focus is on laying a strong foundation for long-term growth and learning.

“We are putting in place a system to expand the pool of young players at the base level. They will play and compete regularly, both locally and overseas.

“Let us provide our strongest support to this system and our young players, by standing together with our football talents for the long haul,” he said.

More details of the scholarship will be shared when ready.

UTR is led by Sport Singapore and the Football Association of Singapore. The project is a national movement which aims to raise the levels of Singapore football through eight pillars of implementation, including “establishing multiple pathways to the pinnacle of the youth game”.

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