Lion City Sailors and Borussia Dortmund announce partnership to develop young players
Elite trainees from the Lion City Sailors’ academy can look forward to playing with one of the best youth teams in Europe when they travel to Borussia Dortmund (BVB) for an annual training camp, which is slated to start next year.
As part of a 2½-year partnership announced by both clubs at a virtual press conference on Saturday (July 17), this group of 13 to 16-year-olds will be training and playing friendly matches in Dortmund, said Sailors’ chief executive Chew Chun-Liang.
Those who shine during the two-week training camp will be given another week-long stint with the Bundesliga club, who are known for their philosophy of handing opportunities to young players.
“They will play with the Under-23 team, train on a higher level, we want to see them on the pitch here in Dortmund and give them a good experience to be the best player they can be,” said Lars Ricken, director of BVB’s Youth Performance Centre.
When asked about a target date for the first training camp, Sailors’ CEO Chew: “We will be taking a measured approach and starting slow. Health and safety of both sides’ players and staff are important.”
He mentioned the possibility of the training camp being held next year, should the situation allow.
The partnership will kick off with education and coaching sessions conducted virtually with academy players being given access to BVB’s learning platform.
Sailors' staff also stand to benefit from this partnership through annual workshops by their BVB counterparts on topics such as talent identification, sports medicine, sports science, psychology, nutrition, data and match analytics, fan engagement and match-day experience.
This is not Dortmund’s first partnership with a local club. Their previous collaboration with Warriors FC ended prematurely with the latter suspending operations a year into the deal.
However, the stint allowed Dortmund to build a relationship with Singapore, said BVB Asia Pacific managing director Suresh Letchmanan.
Referring to the new partnership, Suresh said: “Both clubs are dynamic and progressive brands with a commitment to developing talented youth players and these common beliefs make the two organisations ideally suited.”
This is another major move by the Sailors, who have dominated the headlines with a series of eye-catching plans and deals.
The Sailors, who are the Singapore Premier League's first privatised club, have splashed the cash on various fronts, such as a $10 million training facility due to open next April and the $2.9m record transfer of Brazilian Diego Lopes in January.
In May, the club signed national captain Hariss Harun, and they followed that up with the capture of Asian Champions League-winning tactician Kim Do-hoon as their coach.
Chew has lofty ambitions for the future, aiming to grow the club to be one of the best in the region.
“To get there, we must learn from the best, and in BVB, we have found a partner that is among the best in the world,” he said.
“We share similar ambitions with Dortmund, to become a home for young talents.”