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Singapore Football

FAS launches Singapore Youth League

In a boost for large-scale talent development and identification, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), in partnership with Sport Singapore, as part of national project Unleash the Roar!, announced the launch of the Singapore Youth League (SYL) on Feb 6.

There will be six age-group categories – Under-8, Under-10, Under-12, Under-13, Under-15, and Under-17 – under the new league system spanning across three divisions. Matches will start from five v five all the way to 11 v 11, depending on the ages.

The inaugural campaign begins on Feb 24 and runs until Dec 1. The 2024 season will be used as a classification system, to gauge the competitive levels of more than 200 teams from 52 clubs and academies.

Among those involved are the Singapore Premier League’s Lion City Sailors and invited sides like Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim.

Based on their performances, the teams will then be seeded accordingly for the 2025 competition, which will also feature various divisions where promotion and relegation are introduced.

FAS president Bernard Tan hopes the SYL will raise the level of football here.

He said: “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.

“This is an offering for children who have high football ambitions. The SYL is not a social league, but one that aims to develop kids to be elite footballers.”

He noted the SYL is built on five key pillars – regular matches, competition at the right level, emphasis on development over results, inculcation of sporting values and inclusivity – and the competition “aims to do this at scale”.

The SYL will run concurrently with the National School Games (NSG) season, but SYL matches will be only on weekends at various stadiums.

Tan believes both competitions will compliment each other and together help FAS get closer to their goal of “within 40 to 60 games for the top players”.

The SYL will also feature four girls’ teams, two from the Junior National Development Centre and two from the National Development Centre. They will compete against boys one age group lower than themselves.