Lion City Sailors launch $1m programme to nurture young football talents

Lion City Sailors football academy trainees supporting the team at a recent Singapore Premier League match. (PHOTO: Lion City Sailors)
Lion City Sailors football academy trainees supporting the team at a recent Singapore Premier League match. (PHOTO: Lion City Sailors)

SINGAPORE — Lion City Sailors (LCS), Singapore’s first privatised football club, have launched a $1 million scholarship programme to nurture the country’s young football talents.

The four-year Elite Development Programme will be the centrepiece initiative of the club’s revamped youth development centre, the LCS Football Academy.

It covers all costs incurred during the course of training, insurance and apparel, with overseas camps and tournaments subsidised at 50 per cent. Selected scholars will also receive an additional cash allowance. These amount to $250,000 invested in the programme per annum, totalling $1 million over four years.

The club said in a media release on Wednesday (10 June) that it will kick-start the programme with a 25-strong intake of 12-year-old talents this year.

Modelled after academies of European clubs

The programme is modelled after the academies of leading professional European football clubs, where on-field training is complemented by off-field specialists such as nutritionists, sports psychologists, video analysts and sports doctors.

It is also built around the Singapore school curriculum to ensure that scholarship recipients also receive their academic education amid their football training. The academic education will go together with weekly local matches, quarterly overseas training camps, an annual major overseas tournament, as well as training stints with top foreign clubs.

The scholarship programme will also include a Professional Adaptation Programme to ease scholars back into the competitive professional football environment after completion of National Service, with a view to signing with an overseas club.

Academy helmed by former Feyenoord coach

The scholarship recipients will be training at the LCS Football Academy, which will be helmed by Luka Lalic, former head of methodology and international development coach at Dutch club Feyenoord Rotterdam.

He will oversee the implementation of the Elite Development Programme, which will start with the Under-13 squad all the way through to the Under-17s.

The LCS Football Academy also features paid programmes for children between six and 12, with both boys’ and girls’ teams in all age groups.

“The LCS Football Academy underlines our commitment to Singapore football,” said Lion City Sailors chairman Forrest Li.

“Firstly, through the Elite Development Programme, it will support the growth of the most promising players who have the talent not just to represent our club, but also our Lions. Secondly, our goal is to develop the greater ecosystem of Singapore football, from players to coaches through to specialist areas like nutrition and psychology.”

Interested applicants for the Elite Development Programme can visit the academy’s website for more details on the scholarship and submit their applications. Due to restrictions in place to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, open selections for the scholarship will be announced at a later date.

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