SINGAPORE: AC Milan is the latest among big name European clubs to set up a football school in Singapore.
The Milan Soccer School Singapore was launched on Wednesday in the presence of former Italian World Cup player Daniele Massaro.
Daniele Massaro, who played for AC Milan from 1986 till 1995, was part of the Italian team in the 1982 and 1994 World Cups.
Currently the club's PR Manager, the 52-year-old visited the Milan Singapore Soccer School premises in Bukit Timah.
The Singapore school had a soft launch in December last year and already has 160 students.
With three schools in Japan and one in Jakarta, Singapore is the fifth in East Asia.
Milan focuses not only on developing football but also life skills as not all recruits will go on to be professional football players.
Those with potential can look forward to further training at the Milan Academy in Italy.
Joseph Keiser, principal of Milan Soccer School Singapore, said: "Every year, we run programmes where we take five or six children from an age group to the academy programme.
"And they are trained by academy trainers, and they are evaluated by the Milan lab while they are there."
Another European club linked outfit, FC Barcelona Soccer School, based in St Patrick's School has been operating since last year.
The school has 110 students and had recently sent two teams to compete in an international tournament in Barcelona.
It aims to raise local football standards by imparting the Spanish style of play, more importantly the free flowing attacking style of Barcelona.
Carles Martin Martinez, technical director at FCBEscola Singapore, said: "(We are) offering them, under our specific exercise, the same exercise and same session that... players like Iniesta, Xavi or Messi did in Barcelona.
"So they are doing the same (training) -- like our kids in Barcelona."
Other football schools affiliated to European clubs in Singapore include Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Most charge between S$30 and S$50 per session and employ local coaches, led usually by a foreign technical director.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) said it does not keep track of the number of schools here that are affiliated to the European clubs as they are private commercial entities.
However, the FAS welcomed the setting up of these schools as they provide parents with a wider range of programmes to choose from.
The FAS also urged parents to check on the fees involved and quality of coaching offered. - CNA/al
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