Singaporean kids learn football the Liverpool way

100 youths from CARE Singapore got the coveted opportunity to experience a Standard Chartered football clinic featuring Liverpool legend John Barnes on Monday morning. 

Courtesy of Standard Chartered, some 100 kids from CARE got to sample some Anfield-style training from the Liverpool community coaches, as well as legend Barnes who made a special visit to Singapore to support this football clinic.  

The kids truly enjoyed themselves despite the gruelling weather on a fine Monday morning, training for two hours before the certificate presentation ceremony and autograph session with Barnes.

Liverpool International Academy head coach Tony Owens was pleased to see the commitment level of the youngsters while sharing his coaching philosophy afterwards. 

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to come over and give these kids a platform to showcase their skills,” he told FourFourTwo. “We want to show them the Liverpool way and how we develop kids.

“Of course it’s great to have Barnes supporting the programme, he’s such a legend and I still pinch myself over having the opportunity to work with him.

“My coaching technique is to make sure they enjoy the football without pressure and try to leave a stamp on a child that will take them through when they grow up. 

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“I always emphasise on four values: first, being ambitious and setting a goal; second, being committed to the manager and the club; thirdly, playing with dignity and respect; fourth, working together as a team with unity.

“It can be really difficult under this weather, but the commitment and ambition which the kids showed today proved that they have the values to succeed in the future.”

Since 2014, Standard Chartered Bank has partnered with CARE to support the Free Kick Project (FKP), a youth development programme established by Standard Chartered employee volunteers to promote learning and development through football.

CARE is a non-profit organisation which aims to develop youth success through empowerment through educational programmes for students within the age range of 13 to 16, with FKP being the main physical education module in this curriculum.

The FKP have been going on for the last couple of years, with volunteer coaches from Standard Chartered organising training sessions across 10 secondary schools, where they train over 350 youth footballers.

Bankers by day, these volunteers trade their suits for jerseys on weekends to help the budding footballers to fine-tune their skills and develop a sense of discipline.

The Bank’s lead volunteer coach Aaron Ferguson has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to support the programme.

“We’ve been working closely with CARE to provide football education to these kids because they do not have this subject in their curriculum,” he elaborated. “I’m glad that we’re able to provide access to these playing opportunities.

“Usually it’s a mixed team, with both guys and girls in it. But sometimes, you may even get an all-girls teams playing an all-guys team.”

Standard Chartered supports FKP by providing employees off-in-lieu for their volunteering efforts, with each of them getting three days of Employee Volunteering leave annually to support the local community sessions. Apart from that, the bank also funds the training sessions and annual futsal competitions.

So far the feedback from the young participants has been extremely positive, with two of them sharing their delight at the experience.

“It was my CARE teacher who introduced me to this project,” shared 13-year-old Syafiq Ahmad. “I’ve learnt about working with my team-mates and training hard together to achieve something.”

“Previously before joining this programme, I’ve no platform to play football,” added 14-year-old Nur Razita, who is one of the few years in the FKP. “Now I not only just get to play with others and make new friends, but has also become a more experienced player.

“It’s great that we have the opportunity to learn from such a great football player like Barnes.”