Yeo's extends co-title sponsorship deal with S.League
Two new youth competitions during school holidays as Yeo's signs on as S.League co-title sponsor
Buoyed by healthy fan numbers at matches, the S.League was given another boost yesterday as local food and beverage giant Yeo's extended its co-title sponsorship to a 13th year.
While S.League chief executive officer Lim Chin declined to reveal the value of the "substantial" one-year deal, he said that the terms are similar to that in previous years.
"For the S.League in particular, it's very important for big local corporations like Yeo's to come in and support us," Lim said, on the sidelines of the sponsorship event at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.
"We hope that more corporations in Singapore will emulate what Yeo's has done, not only for the S.League, but also for Singapore football."
Besides pledging its support for top-tier football, Yeo's will also give youth and grassroots football here a leg-up, by launching two new competitions that will be held during the March and June school holidays.
The H-TWO-O Ultimate Challenge Cup will allow secondary school football teams, specifically those who do not qualify for the nationals, to play more competitive matches.
The other competition - the H-TWO-O Ultimate Junior Champions League - will provide Under-8, Under-10 and Under-12 primary school students with age-appropriate opportunities to gain playing experience.
The tournaments, which are open to both boys and girls, will start this year.
Commenting on the move, Yeo Hiap Seng (Singapore) 1st vice-president May Ngiam said: "Year on year, we try to have different pillars of focus.
"This year, we want to focus a little bit on the younger generation, to inspire these younger ones to play football not just on the social basis, but also professionally.
"This is so that we can have a new generation of players. Otherwise, we'll always be looking at the same old players."
This is not the first time Yeo's has focused its efforts on developing different aspects of local football.
Graduates of the H-TWO-O/ITE Ultimate Dream Team programme - such as Ignatius Ang (Warriors), Samuel Benjamin (Hougang United) and Ho Wai Loon (Balestier Khalsa) - have gone on to earn professional contracts in the S.League.
In addition, the H-TWO-O Ultimate Women's Dream Team are already in their third year of competing in the Women's Premier League.
For Football Association of Singapore vice-president Lim Kia Tong, these initiatives are encouraging signs for Singapore football.
"When Yeo's first stepped onto the scene, it was a sponsors for the S.League," he said.
"Along the way, you can see that its desire was to develop and raise awareness of the game, not only in women's football, but also… for the younger players.
"The talent might blossom and from there, we have a bigger base (of players).
"Singapore's population by itself is small, so whatever talent that we can actually try to groom will be useful."