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LaLiga Academy becomes UTR!’S first overseas training partner




The Unleash The Roar! (UTR!) national football project will work with Spain’s LaLiga Academy as its first overseas training partner to help groom Singapore’s brightest footballers.

Partnerships with established sport excellence centres such as LaLiga Academy is an important building block for the UTR! ecosystem as it creates more pathways for Singapore’s best and most promising talent to pursue their football aspirations.


The LaLiga Academy is part of the Madrid-based ESC (Education Sports Coliving) LaLiga & NBA, a youth excellence facility dedicated to grooming both football and basketball talent. The football programme has hosted promising youth from Japan and South Korea.


Speaking in Spain, where he visited the first batch of 20 UTR! footballers currently on a month-long attachment at ESC LaLiga & NBA, Mr Eric Chua, UTR! Executive Committee Chairman and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development said: “We want to build a youth football development ecosystem where our talented youth get full support in their football and academic pursuits. Bringing them out of Singapore challenges our youth beyond their comfort zone and gives them opportunities to train and compete with the best.


"ESC LaLiga & NBA is an excellent example of the type of partners we want to work with to groom the next generation of footballers. It is a purpose-built sport excellence centre that houses an international school, student accommodation, and sports facilities where our youth can be immersed in a high-performance setting.”



SPS Eric Chua, UTR! Executive Committee Chairman, chatting with the players in Spain. Twenty boys were in Spain for a month-long training stint, the first batch of footballers to go overseas under the UTR! initiative.


To expose budding male and female footballers to higher levels of football training and intensity, UTR! will send student footballers on short to medium-term attachments with UTR!’s overseas training partners, starting with ESC LaLiga & NBA.


The first batch of UTR! footballers in Spain on the month-long training award trip comprises boys aged 12 and 13 from the SFA programme, the ActiveSG Football Academy Development Centres and the Football Association of Singapore’s talent identification programme.


They played four friendly matches against youth sides from Spanish clubs Rayo Vallecano, Getafe, Fuenlabrada and Atletico Madrid. They will spend the final week of the Nov 5 - Dec 2 trip attached to Spanish clubs Real Sociedad, Deportivo Alaves, Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid and Levante.


UTR! head coach for the attachment Jaime Serra said the training trip was a great end to a busy year of football for our young talents.


He said: "It has allowed the boys to continue their football education in a professional environment where the training methodology is similar to how we train them at the SFAs.


“ESC LaLiga & NBA is an ideal partner because their training methodology is similar to what we have under the National Football Curriculum. We want to develop our boys and girls to understand better the crucial moments in a game, such as the transition between defence and attack. We also want to expose them to higher standards of play.


“It was satisfying to see the boys put into practice what they have learnt and apply that in match settings against quality opposition."





Joshua Chong, a secondary one participant from Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), was initially worried about being homesick.


He said: “We spent a few days adjusting to the weather and the daily training environment. The daily training, competitions with Spanish clubs and classroom lessons have helped me improve my game.”


It was not only players who benefitted from the trip. SFA coaches who accompanied the boys on the trip also had coaching workshops with LaLiga coaches.


SFA coach Afiq Yahya was thankful for the experience at ESC Madrid.


He said: “There is nothing like attending the coaching workshops in person with the LaLiga facilitators. We had sessions on LaLiga Methodology, Game Model and individual training. We could ask questions and exchange views. I have benefitted greatly in my development journey as a coach for youth football.”


Novmeber 29, 2022

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