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Unleashing Talent: The Singapore Youth League (SYL) Set To Revolutionize Singaporean Football

(The content of this post is based on the media release announcing the official launch of the Singapore Youth League (SYL), and all the images featured in this blog post are credited to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).)

Co-organised by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) and Sport Singapore (SportSG), the highly anticipated Singapore Youth League (SYL) is set to kick off on the 24th of February following its official launch Tuesday evening (6/2) at the National Stadium.

STRUCTURE OF THE SYL

The SYL, an initiative under the Unleash the Roar! (UTR!) national football project is the country’s first-ever nationwide elite youth football competition and is set to feature over 200 registered teams from 52 clubs and academies across various age groups.

From left: Yazeen Buhari, General Secretary, Football Association of Singapore, Baihakki Khaizan, Head, Planning (Technical Division Office) Football Association of Singapore, Toh Boon Yi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sport Singapore (in white), Bernard Tan, President of Football Association of Singapore, Michael Browne, Technical Director Football Association of Singapore, Gerard Christopher, Deputy General-Secretary, Football Association of Singapore.
Singapore Youth League (SYL) was officially launched on the 6th of February

Cater to six age groups (Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-13, Under-15, and Under-17) and open to both boys and girls, the matches will be played at various stadiums across the island from the weekend of 24 and 25 February 2024 onwards.

Teams in the SYL will play an average of about 30 games per season – more than any other youth league in the past.

THE VISION FOR SYL

Due to the league’s classification system, these matches will pit teams of similar levels against each other, ensuring that competitive balance is maintained throughout the season.

The teams will compete in an annual season spanning approximately eight months, with a mid-year break in between.

FAS Lead in Special Projects and former Lions Baihakki Khaizan at the SYL draw, February 2024.
Former Lions defender Baihakki Khaizan spearheading the SYL

“If Singapore is to have a footballing future, it is clear that the fundamental thing we need is a structured development system for our children that will bring them to greater heights." said FAS president Mr Bernard Tan who addressed the floor at the launch of SYL which took place at Singapore Sports Hub’s OCBC Lounge.

"The SYL that is built on five key pillars – regular matches, competition at the right level, emphasis on development over results, inculcation of sporting values, and inclusivity – aims to do this at scale.” added Mr Tan.

ACADEMY ACCREDITATION SYSTEM (AAS) AND PARTICIPATION

Besides the invited academies – that include Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), the ActiveSG Football Academy and the Singapore Sports School – all other clubs and academies that will participate in the SYL are part of the FAS’ Academy Accreditation System (AAS).

The AAS’ 13-point criteria ensures that clubs and academies provide a robust structure for youth development. This, along with the competitive environment the SYL provides, are key contributors to the UTR! aim of uplifting Singapore football.

Toh Boon Yi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sport Singapore at the Singapore Youth League draw
Toh Boon Yi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sport Singapore

“We are confident the SYL will provide a robust platform for our young talents to flourish. More than just a football league, it is a manifestation of our commitment to building a pipeline that will contribute to Singapore football – and the local sporting fabric – for years to come,” said SportSG Deputy Chief Executive, Toh Boon Yi.

From left: Yazeen Buhari, General Secretary, Football Association of Singapore, Baihakki Khaizan, Head, Planning (Technical Division Office) Football Association of Singapore, Toh Boon Yi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sport Singapore (in white), Bernard Tan, President of Football Association of Singapore, Michael Browne, Technical Director Football Association of Singapore, Gerard Christopher, Deputy General-Secretary, Football Association of Singapore with representatives from 52 teams participating in the Singapore Youth League (behind).
FAS and Sports Singapore alongside SYL team representatives

One of those who is looking forward to the start of SYL is Mr Ibrahim Chemad, Director of Flair Football Academy.

"I’m excited about the enhanced playing opportunities that our players will enjoy in the upcoming SYL season," said Mr Ibrahim who started his academy in 2019

“While we are obviously targeting success in the league for our participating teams, our broader focus is on the holistic development of each player as they grow and excel in the game,” he added.

SYL SEASON DETAILS AND ONLINE PLATFORMS

The inaugural season of the Singapore Youth League will run from 24 February – 1 December 2024. The league will crown champions across every age group after 33 match days of competition.

Schedules, scores, and updates can be found at https://syl.sg/ or via Singapore Youth League on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

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