A new volunteer coaching programme for youths who want to give back through sport was launched by Minister for Culture, Communication and Youth, Grace Fu, on Friday.
Minister Grace Fu (fourth from right) and Aleksandar Duric (third from right) at the SGfutures dialogue session where Play It Forward was launched. Photo: Sport Singapore
Youths who participate in Play It Forward, a fully subsidised certification programme, will undergo a two week course before gaining hands on experience coaching at the ActiveSG Football Academy under formal national footballer and academy principal Aleksandar Duric.
Speaking at Velocity@Novena, where the initiative was officially announced during the last of the SGfuture dialogues, Minister Fu said the past dialogues have been very productive as they led to the development of the Play It Forward programme.
“Building on these ideas, these participants have developed a Play It Forward initiative to train volunteers who can help boost the coaching scene in Singapore,” she said.
“This effort is highly commendable, and shows a way forward in how we can develop more programmes together for Singaporeans and Singapore.”
Teenagers as young as 16 years old will be able to take part in the volunteer coaching programme and will have to undergo interviews with Duric before being accepted.
While football coaching is a career path that traditionally comes after football players retire, Duric waved off this misconception saying that one doesn’t need to have played football before to become a great coach – highlighting two-time Champions League winner Jose Mourinho as an example.
“It doesn’t mean they need to be in some way soccer players before. These days, so many coaches, if you look at the world, have never really played football before. Mourinho is one of them,” he said.
“So it’s an opportunity for everybody. I am not going to say that if you have never played football before, you will not be part of my plans.”
“There is no such thing. It is an equal opportunity for everybody. As long as you have a passion, a desire and love football as a sport, and love to work with kids, there is no better opportunity for them to join us.”
Minister Grace Fu (middle) and Aleksandar Duric (front row, second from right) take a photo with participants at the SGfutures dialogue session where Play It Forward was launched. Photo: Sport Singapore
One of the youths who has expressed interest in the programme is Abdul Hayei, a youth who is currently enjoying his football with SportCares. For Hayei, his motivations lie in the fact that he hopes to be involved in football through a ripe old age while also doing his small part for the children and community.
“We are not always young, so when we grow old I can still be part of the soccer programme,” the 20-year-old said.
“I can even teach the kids what I have been taught and also contribute what the community has contributed to me.”