Young ActiveSG members were among the 170 lucky children from across Singapore who got a rare opportunity to spend a day with their football idols at Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.
Stars from Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City, who were in town for the Barclays Asia Trophy, took part in games and drills with young fans as part of the Premier Skills Community Festival.
Stoke’s Glenn Whelan and Everton’s Gareth Barry gave the kids a demonstration of various exercises, much to the delight of the young ones.
Stoke City's Glenn Whelan in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
Whelan in particular was having a great time as the affable Irishman teased and joked with the little participants throughout the event.
The youngsters (below) were also put through their paces by grassroots coaches who had undergone the seven-day course with Premier League’s international coaching program, Premier Skills.
Photo: Sport Singapore
"It's great to see, some of these kids are really talented and I hope they have a lot of fun and learn from the local coaches," Everton forward and Belgian international Romelu Lukaku said.
Towards the end of the night, Arsenal players Nacho Monreal, Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy, who dropped by to hand out gifts and medals to the participants, found themselves swamped with requests of autographs and pictures.
Arsenal's Mathieu Debuchy, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs pose with members of the Premier Skills team. Photo: Sport Singapore
Former Singapore national captain Terry Pathmanathan said it was a special occasion that the kids were able to play on the pitch at Jalan Besar.
“This is the birthplace of Singapore football and when I first played at Jalan Besar Stadium I was so excited,” said the former defender.
He added that this opportunity would only spur and inspire children to further improve their skills and take Singapore football to another level.