"Education & Life Skills Through Football in Singapore"
Pay As You Play Fee Policy ☺
Although I was born in the UK to Singaporean/Malaysian parents I finally ended up full circle back home in the heart of Asia. My family actually originated from Sembawang – Sembawang, traditionally the hotbed of local football, has produced some of the game’s biggest names for the national team.Defender S. Rajagopal, hotshots V. Sundramoorthy and Quah Kim Song and his brothers are among those who cut their teeth there.
During my youth playing days in the UK, the home of the exciting English Premier League, I was fortunate enough to play in the same youth leagues and schools as such greats as former England and Arsenal defender Martin Keown and former Liverpool and England star Mark Wright and Gary Parker of Aston Villa to name but a few. Some of my friends went on to become managers of lower professional teams . I was embedded in a football culture form an early age , the culture not only consiting of playing and participation , be it a spectator or coach. I was never even close to making it as a professional player but represented my school and local sides.However being so attached to football from youth to professional level , I truly felt that my experience and involvement along with my qualifications could combine with the local football scene in Singapore , which for its size still manages to hold its own within the arena thanks to the professionalism of the FAS and its national team manager.
After developing youth development projects , for schools and local county councils in the UK, I headed to my paternal home of Singapore where I worked for the British High Comission. It was here that I realised that you didn’t need to be a well-known ex-footballer to develop football in the Lion City or be associated with a Premier League franchise.
In fact all you need is an understanding of football culture , borne out of your upbringing and environment , along with a passion for the game. Ability and genuine interest coupled with compassion to work with young people is vital. Furthermore to demonstrate all the lessons playing football brings – such as teamwork, discipline, confidence , social intelligence is vital and not forgetting a practice-makes-perfect attitude.
I set to work on developing a programme which combines soccer and education, which are suitable for both young players and coaches alike. Coaches are easy to find – role models and engaging coaches are not. Our program looks to engage excite and educate children and to guide them to being the best that they can be.
At ESS we encourage thinking outside- the “penalty-box’ while obeying the laws of the game and encouraging a healthy mix of locals and expats.
The buzzword is “inclusive”. Soccer brings people from all walks of life together, regardless of race, religion, social standing and nationality. ESS has cultivated such a culture with affordable, welcoming and rewarding soccer schools across the island.
I am en-debited to all those that have helped me along the way especially my own family and my English FA tutor Keith Boanas who continually visits us in Singapore to conduct coaching courses . His passion for the game and genuine love for youth development and coach education has helped us to develop further in the region and as a result has had a positive affect on the wonderful children we coach from countries all around the world here in wonderful Singapore.
We are extremely blessed to have such supportive parents who believe in what we do and appreciate what we are trying to do .
I would like to thank all our parents for your support and continuous encouragement.
James – ESS Founder