SINGAPORE — Reigning Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions Lion City Sailors unveiled their $10 million training centre on Thursday (28 July), becoming the first SPL club to have their own integrated football training facility.
Spanning 28,000 square metres along Mattar Road, the centre features five football fields, as well as physiotherapy rooms, a gym, an analysis room and study facilities for academy trainees.
It will be the new training ground for the first team, under-21 side, women's team and academy of the Sailors - SPL's first privatised club after chairman Forrest Li bought over the former Home United in 2020.
“This training centre is a symbol of our commitment to revitalising local football, and to pursuing excellence for the Lion City Sailors, now and in the future," said Li, who graced Thursday's official opening ceremony together with Edwin Tong, Minister of Culture, Community and Youth.
"We built this centre because infrastructure is the basis of any good ecosystem. We hope this training centre pushes the football scene a bit further along that journey.”
While the Sailors' first team have just started making use of the state-of-the-art training facility, captain Hariss Harun believes everything is in place to give the players the right training to maximise their potential on the pitch.
"It just gives us motivation to step up our game, with everything so customised for us to be at our best at our job," said the 31-year-old, who is also skipper for the Singapore national team.
"But this also means we don't really have any more excuses. We must produce the results on the pitch."
Pipeline for youth football development
Plans for the training centre were already mooted in the early days of the Sailors' launch in 2020, and following the groundbreaking ceremony in April 2021, the centre was completed in the second quarter of this year.
In addition to providing the Sailors with a base to nurture their talents, the training centre will also be a key pipeline for youth football development in Singapore, as part of the Unleash the Roar! (UTR!) national project.
The club will host training sessions for the Sailors Development Centre, which is part of the ActiveSG Football Academy. They are also providing opportunities to develop the local sports industry in areas such as sports medicine, physiotherapy as well as strength and conditioning.
With a public viewing area and a cafe in its premises, the centre also aims to support the nearby MacPherson estate by hosting grassroots activities for the residents.
"Good facilities and a strong infrastructure, coupled with the belief in the ability to nurture young talent, are paramount for the development of football in Singapore," said Tong during the opening ceremony.
"I am glad that the Lion City Sailors continue to demonstrate its long-term commitment to supporting and developing our local football scene through this state-of-the-art facility. It is investing in the mindshare. Not just the hardware, but the software, the mindshare, and making sure that we really develop our youths."
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.