Singapore Pools, together with SportCares Foundation, organised the yearly football fundraiser tournament, Football with a Heart (FWAH), at the National Stadium on Saturday.
This year, FWAH comprised youth and corporate tournaments with SportCares co-organising the youth tournament for the first time.
“There are 30 youth teams - 24 boys and six girls. This is the first time that FWAH have ever gone this big, and it's also the first time they have had girls so we are pretty excited about that,” said SportCares Deputy Director Laura Reid.
“For the youth, it's a chance to play on the National Stadium pitch, which many of them have never had and they are all pretty excited about. It's a chance to test their skills. We are always trying to find opportunities for them to play sport, to play football,” she added.
The highlight of the event saw five Valencia Club de Futbol players Mathew Ryan, Jaume Domenech, Javi Fuego, Santi Mina and Paco Alcacer, as well as La Liga legends Gaizka Mendieta and David Albelda made an appearance, playing an exhibition match with a team of bi-partisan Parliamentarians, which included Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister Teo Ser Luck and Minister Ong Ye Kung.
Gaizka Mendieta (in white) in action against Team Parlianmentarians during Football with a Heart 2016 at the National Stadium. Photo: Sport Singapore
This year's fundraiser was split into two segments – the youth tournament and the corporate tournament. And for the first time, SportCares
co-organised the youth tournament with Singapore Pools.
Participants in action during Football with a Heart 2016. Photo: Sport Singapore
More than half a million dollars was raised from the event with SportCares being one of nine beneficiaries.
“The money that is raised here that comes to us, will be used to fund football programmes. But it is more than just pure sports... because we provide meals, we provide nutritional advice, we provide motivational talks. We cover the cost of their jerseys, the cost of coaches,” continued Ms Reid.
“Basically, SportCares tries to run a high performance model on a community framework. This type of programming wouldn't be possible for our youths to have access to without corporate support."
Participants competing for the ball during a match. Photo: Sport Singapore
Nurul Lisa, who has been with SportCares for three years, said this sport events such as FWAH help her make more friends and strengthens her mental fortitude at the same time.
“It helps me to widen my social circle because I have more connections, and maybe in the future I can link up with them to open up opportunities,” the 15-year-old said.
“The feeling of losing is definitely not a good feeling for us, and it teaches us how to pick ourselves up and continue to fight on. This is one of the values that each and every sports person should have.”
SportCares is at the heart of a growing national movement to use sport for social good. With support from partners in the community and corporate sectors, SportCares organises programmes and projects with a mission of empowering people in need, by providing opportunities for social inclusion and community bridging through sport.
Donations to SportCares can be made through https://www.giving.sg/sportcares