Eunos Crescent to send two youth players to train in Holland
Amateur National Football League (NFL) outfit Eunos Crescent Football Club (ECFC) have taken a big step towards their grand ambition of becoming a professional S.League club one day by tying up a "long-term" partnership with Dutch club VVV Venlo.
The two clubs agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding when Venlo's head of academy Roger Bongaerts visited Singapore recently at the invitation of ECFC's head of youth development Khairul Asyraf, who also runs the 2Touch Soccer School.
Under the collaboration, ECFC will adopt training methods, jointly developed by Bongaerts and Khairul, for their Centre of Excellence (COE) youth sides. The club plan to implement the new training methods later this year.
In addition, two youth players from ECFC will also be selected for a training stint at Venlo in August.
EYE FOR TALENT
Said ECFC team manager Darwin Jalil: "We (in the local football fraternity) have all been talking about improving local football but, most times, it is confined to our own circle.
"So we felt a collaboration with a foreign club like Venlo can give us fresh ideas on how to run our team."
Venlo were recently crowned champions of the second-tier Eerste Divisie and will play their football next season in the Eredivisie alongside the likes of Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven.
In recent years, Venlo were known for being the club that brought Japanese stars such as Keisuke Honda (now at Italy's AC Milan) and Maya Yoshida (now at England's Southampton) to Europe.
The tie-up with the Dutch side is not the only eye-catching move ECFC have made off the pitch recently.
Earlier this week, the club also announced a collaboration with private education institution PSB Academy.
Under the collaboration, PSB will work with ECFC to explore options for higher education for their players and they will be entitled to special rebates for enrolment in the institution.
ECFC, who boast former Singapore internationals like Indra Sahdan and Tengku Mushadad in their current squad, kick off the new NFL season with a game against Sporting Westlake at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.
Said Darwin: "It's a refreshing and exciting time for the NFL.
"I hope members of the public can come down for the game and start supporting local football, be it the S.League or NFL."