Portuguese giants FC Porto and internationally renowned coaching system Coerver Coaching joined forces in Singapore this week to share their expertise and expose local children to a different approach to football.
FC Porto, who are two-time Champions League winners and 27-time Portuguese league champions, held a clinic in Singapore from August 10-13 at the Singapore Cricket Club for boys and girls aged from six to 18.
We have a lot of kids, a lot of coaches and a lot of passion. And we have Cristiano Ronaldo
It has been an opportunity for Porto to spread their brand to a new corner of the globe and also share their passion for football.
“In terms of Singapore, we’re doing an international summer camp here, meeting new people, meeting new partners, looking for possible future FC Porto players and future collaborations,” Antonio Gouveia, who coaches Porto’s under-13 Dragon Force academy side, told FourFourTwo.
“It’s about spreading the brand. We brought three FC Porto Academy coaches here. We don’t have any collaboration in Asia, this is our first collaboration. Porto is a relatively small club, but we want to be where football is developing, help develop football and of course take some benefits for us with players and brand expansion.
“This year Portugal of course won the European Championship, but we also won that in under-17, we’re performing amazingly well in the Olympics, our youth under-16 girls are doing very, very well – so our football in Portugal is growing.
“The main ingredient is Portuguese people are passionate about football, they’re crazy about football, so we have a lot of kids that want to play.
“We have a lot of kids, a lot of coaches and a lot of passion. And we have Cristiano Ronaldo. It all helps to make it grow.“
Gouveia believes the key to improving Singapore football is simply increasing the player and coaching base.
“Once you enlarge the player base and coaches, then you have to put them into competitions,” he said.
“They will only reach their limits if they compete a lot. If you put the best players of Singapore playing against each other, they will develop a lot more. Competition is important.
“Young players here are quite similar to Portugal in terms of passion and skill. So already there is a little spark here, you just need to grow.“
Former professional PJ Roberts runs the Singapore Cricket Club Soccer Academy and is also one of the master franchise owners of Coerver Coaching in Singapore.
Young players here are quite similar to Portugal in terms of passion and skill. So already there is a little spark here
Roberts feels there have been huge benefits in firstly exposing the tried and tested Coerver methods to Singaporeans, as well introducing them to Porto’s approach.
“With the global appeal of Coerver Coaching, which is in so many countries, we were able to partner with FC Porto to bring them over for a camp to expose the children here to a slightly different approach to coaching,“ Roberts said.
“There are lots of different approaches to coaching. I think with Coerver and the coaching we provide, we’re very confident in our methodology.
“Coerver Coaching is in around 25-to-30 countries and has been around for over 30 years. It’s not as if it’s something new or a fad, it’s fundamentally proven in providing that understanding for individual technical competence leading into group play.
“That’s why we’re really excited to drive that throughout Singapore.
“For a child at school studying maths or science there’s a very particular curriculum to follow. It’s exactly the same with football.”
Coerver are set to launch eight new coaching centres across Singapore.
They are also hosting a coach education course along with the FC Porto coaches at Republic Polytechnic on Sunday, August 14.
We live on a very small island where football is by far the most popular sport
Roberts feels Coerver can comfortably coexist within the parameters set by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS).
“It’s definitely complementary (with FAS),” he said. “A number of countries have individual football federation associations that control all the leagues and coaching.
“You don’t have that here. What you have is a fragmented coaching environment, with lots of different academies being run. They’re trying to unify it and that needs to happen, we agree, and I think we’re complementary to that.
“We live on a very small island where football is by far the most popular sport where the government has a very clear objective to drive community participation and engagement.
“We’ve just seen Joseph Schooling win a gold medal which is fantastic and the inspiration for children is there, so there are enormous opportunities for everyone for sport.
“We feel with the success of Coerver Coaching already, we really want to drive it with young Singaporeans.”
Photos, reporting by Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo