FAS Launches Singapore Youth League: A Landmark for Youth Football Development

Singapore – In a significant move aimed at nurturing and identifying talent on a large scale, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), in collaboration with Sport Singapore as part of the national project Unleash the Roar!, has unveiled the Singapore Youth League (SYL) on February 6th.

The SYL introduces six age-group categories ranging from Under-8 to Under-17, spanning across three divisions. Matches will vary from five-a-side to eleven-a-side, depending on the age group. The inaugural season, commencing on February 24th and concluding on December 1st, serves as a classification phase to assess the competitive levels of over 200 teams from 52 clubs and academies, including prominent entities like the Lion City Sailors from the Singapore Premier League and invited sides such as Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim.

FAS President Bernard Tan expressed his optimism about the SYL’s potential to elevate football standards in Singapore, emphasizing its role in providing a structured development pathway for aspiring young footballers. Tan highlighted the league’s focus on regular matches, appropriate competition levels, developmental emphasis over results, fostering sporting values, and promoting inclusivity.

Despite concerns about potential burnout among players due to the league’s ambitious schedule, Tan stressed the importance of ample playing opportunities in a player’s development journey. He cited European football practices, where players engage in over 40 games annually, as a benchmark for optimal development.

The SYL will run concurrently with the National School Games (NSG) season, with matches scheduled only on weekends at various stadiums. Tan emphasized the complementary nature of both competitions, envisioning a synergy that benefits top players who will have the opportunity to participate in approximately 40 to 60 games per season.

Coaches and players alike have welcomed the introduction of the SYL, acknowledging its role in providing valuable playing experience and opportunities for talent recognition. Mirko Grabovac, a former Lions player turned coach, emphasized the necessity of dedicated training for serious players, while head coach Amos Boon highlighted the platform’s value in enhancing players’ skills through competitive play.

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