(This entry is formulated based on the media release issued by Lion City Sailors Football Club, all media materials used in this post belong to LCSFC and LCS Football Academy, unless stated)
Since launching itself as the first privatized professional football club in Singapore, Lion City Sailors (LCSFC) has been making significant efforts to project itself as the torch bearer in local football.
Competing in the top tier AIA Singapore Premier League, the Sailors boasted themselves with an impressive star-studded side which is further strengthen with the recruitment of prolific Croatian striker Stipe Plazibat from Hougang United weeks ago.
However, it is the youth development wing of the club bankrolled by billionaire Forrest Li making the heads turned recently.
|LCS Football Academy is based at Mattar Road|
$1 MILLION SCHOLARSHIP AND $10 MILLION TRAINING FACILITIES
First on the list was the launch of the $1 million Elite Development Programme (EDP) scholarship by the club's LCS Football Academy back in June that will see the implementation of a four-year programme with aims to give Singapore’s top young talent a pathway to fulfil their potential.
Following that, LCSFC is planning to build a $10 million training facilities to accommodate all their training programmes by 2022, as reported by The Straits Times.
Earlier of the day, in a media statement issued by the club it was announced LCS Football Academy was endorsed by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as a "One-Star academy".
"ONE-STAR ACADEMY" RECOGNITION BY AFC
According to the said media statement, the LCS Football Academy earned the accolade after they met the criteria outlined by the regional football governing body’s Elite Youth Scheme which targetted at lifting development programmes in AFC member nations.
The 20-point audit criteria of the AFC's Elite Youth Scheme include: leadership and vision, planning, organisation, facilities, as well as player-centric factors such as welfare, psychology and education.
|LCS hopes to unearth more talents through its EDP scholarship|
With the LCS Football Academy's endorsement as a "One-Star academy" by AFC, it was revealed that this was a key factor in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) passing AFC’s 11-point evaluation criteria and recognised as a full member of the Elite Youth Scheme.
"The FAS was evaluated on the first 10 categories ranging from facilities to sport science and competitions. But the 11th category – the existence of at least one One-Star academy – was the critical factor that determined whether it would be recognized as a full member or a provisional member of the Scheme." said the club in the same statement.
FAS TD PALATSIDES HOPES TO DOMINO EFFECT FROM THIS
Also in the same statement, FAS Technical Director (TD) Joseph Palatsides shares his thoughts in lauding the role played by the LCS Football Academy in this regional recognition.
“The membership signifies that AFC, the governing body of Asia, has given their seal of approval for FAS’ Youth Development plans. It is affirmation that we are headed in the right direction to improve Singapore football,” said the 54-year-old Palatsides who replaced Michel Sablon as FAS TD last May.
With LCS Football Academy having set the benchmark for academies here, Palatsides hopes that this will bring about a domino effect in the local footballing ecosystem, with other academies in Singapore following suit.
A vision that is concurred by Tan Li Yu, LCS Football Academy General Manager.
Said Tan:“We were in constant communication with the FAS during the process of AFC audits, and the open approach to working hand-in-hand for the improvement of Singapore football and LCS Football Academy will continue to do its part for our football ecosystem.”
EDP SCHOLARS TO START TRAINING AFTER PSLE
Despite missed out the "Two-Star grade" due to the lack of more specialist staff in their programmes and processes, the Academy Director Luka Lalic mentioned "the next steps are already being taken".
“We were informed that the Academy missed out on the Two-Star grade because we have yet to involve more specialist staff in our programmes and processes. But this is part of our phased improvement plans, and we will be ready with that soon. In the meantime, we haven’t been resting on our laurels, our team has been working hard behind the scenes,” said the Serbian.
|LCS Football Academy Director Luka Lalic|
Providing an update on the EDP scholarship programme, Lalic said the first batch of the scholars are already on board and the full training program will start upon the completion of the PSLE exams.
“We are excited to have them grow in the Academy, with Academy, as we move to put in place plans that are part of our phased approach to becoming an elite development hub,” added Lalic, who was Feyenoord Rotterdam’s Head of Methodology, International Development Coach, before joining the academy in June.