Ron Ranjan (middle) and his son Suriya (right) play football every Saturday at Bendemeer Primary School, one of over 40 free-to-play fields in Singapore. They are often joined by Suriya’s friend Lucas. Photo by Ng Chrong Meng
Mr Ron Ranjan loves his football. But one thing he loves more than the beautiful game is playing it with his son. He and his son Suriya spend quality time having a kickabout every Saturday at Bendemeer Primary School, one of over 40 free-to-play fields across Singapore.
Living close to a free-to-play football field under the Dual-Use Scheme (DUS), an initiative by Sport Singapore’s and the Ministry of Education, Mr Ranjan, 49, recognised it as an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with his son, Suriya.
“We are all so tied up with work that we don't have time for family bonding,” said Mr Ranjan, a taxi driver.
“This is one way to get my son out and have that family bonding time. So, I come out here every Saturday from 5-7 pm and have a game with my son and his classmates.”
Mr Ranjan understands the importance of keeping his son active, and away from the sedentary lifestyle often associated with excessive screen time. By embracing football as a shared interest, he promotes physical activity and an active lifestyle and nurtures a bond that goes beyond the normal father-son relationship.
Watch how Ron Ranjan, a passionate father, embraces quality time with his son, Suriya, through the beautiful game of football! 🏆👨👦 Video by Ng Chrong Meng
Igniting a passion for football
Suriya's love for football began during his days at Bendemeer Primary School, where he played during break time because there was no football co-curricular activity.
Suriya, 13, said: “In my primary school, I was in Track and Field CCA. I’m glad now that I got a chance to continue my passion for football as my CCA at Guangyang Secondary School.”
Suriya's dedication to the sport paid off, as he earned a spot on his school's football team. This year, his skills as a goalkeeper secured him a place in the National School Games. Unfortunately, a hand injury dashed his hopes of participating. But he is determined to return to the field next year.
Mr Ranjan hopes to see more parents and their kids utilise free-to-play fields, especially the one at Bendemeer Primary.
He said: “I hope to see more guys, more children, more fathers come here so that we can play and train together.”
Who’s game to join Mr Ranjan and Suriya?
Located within walking distance from Boon Keng MRT, the free-to-play football field is accessible to the public for free during the weekend. Photo by Ng Chrong Meng
Where to find the list of free-to-play fields?
The availability of the free-to-play football field offers a myriad of benefits for aspiring young players like Suriya. It serves as a platform to improve football skills, foster teamwork, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
ActiveSG manages over 200 MOE school sport facilities under the Dual-Use Scheme (DUS). Among them, there are over 40 free-to-play fields where the public can simply walk in to enjoy free play on the weekends! There is no booking required.
These are open fields of non-standard pitch sizes in various schools all over Singapore. With so many free-to-play fields, there is sure to be one near you.
Here is the list of free-to-play fields that are available on most weekends.
*As some fields may be unavailable from time to time due to events or maintenance, do call the school during weekdays before heading down to avoid disappointment!
Story by Ng Chrong Meng