Thousands of young footballers heading to Singapore for JSSL 7's

The fourth annual JSSL (Junior Soccer School and League) Singapore International 7’s commence later this month, with a record 160 teams from across the globe set to take part.

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Teams from 13 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Oman and of course Singapore, will compete in a range of categories.

There are six groups for boys aged between nine and 15, plus three groups for girls aged 11, 13 and 15.

To cater for the surge in numbers, Turf City has been added as a venue this year, joining Padang and HQ MacPherson.

“We’re now in our fourth year. We had 40 teams in year one,” said Harvey Davis, owner and managing director of JSSL 7’s.

Some of the bounty on offer

“We’ve grown it now to 160 teams. We’ve got 13 nations, over 2,000 players and around 4,000 players and parents coming in.

“We’ve got over 100 teams from overseas, so we focus very much on taking the best teams in Singapore and then bringing in international teams so it adds more flavour to the tournament.

“What we try to do is build it slowly and steadily to a very high standard and level. The pitch has full signage, parents aren’t allowed on the pitch, we’ve got officials – everything is run to a high standard.”

Held over two days on April 30 and May 1, the format has been tweaked this year, with a league competition staged on the first day to establish rankings for a knockout event the following day.

The JSSL 7’s are modelled on the Gothia Cup, a world youth tournament first held back in 1975 in Gothenburg Sweden that now features 70 nations and 1,600 teams.

Paul Parker with some prize winners at last year's event

Teams at the JSSL 7’s compete for the Paul Parker Trophy, named after the former England and Manchester United defender, who is a technical director at the soccer school.

“If you finish first on Saturday, then you’ll likely play a team that’s fifth on the Sunday in a cup knockout,” Davis explained.

“If you lose your first game in a knockout match, you then go to a plate knockout, so you get at least two games on the Sunday.

“If you win your first game in the plate knockout, you keep going and going until you make the semis and the finals.

“That way we’ve made it a little bit more exciting.”

Click here to download the JSSL 7's app, containing all the information you need for this year's event

Photos: JSSL 7's