Dec 15, 2021 - FAS
Part 2 : SFC Soccer Schools 2021
This is part 2 of our feature on the Selangor FC Soccer Schools. Read the first part here.
The Selangor FC Soccer Schools programme plans go beyond just 2022. According to its Head of Programme, Kanason Rajagobal, we want to increase the number of schools involved in the following three years, but what matters most is the effectiveness of its execution.
He reminded that the programme seeks to get as many children under the age of 12 years old to be playing the game, as it is a non elite programme.
The programme does not select the best talent, we are at the bottom of the development pyramid with the aim of developing as many kids as possible, getting them to be involved with the game and to play continuously.
"We want to develop all types of players with different abilities and development trajectory as part of our program; the trajectory of development at the grassroots level is very complex especially at the under 12 years old. We want to be inclusive and get as many kids as we can to play the beautiful game of football through our programme. As part of the program delivery of within a month period, the children will train in two or three weeks, and then go through two weeks of games and competitions.
"And children training under the Selangor FC Soccer Schools can expect to be trained focusing on the basics of football;core football techniques and skills which are running with the ball, kicking, scoring and passing, with a focus on development first versus winning and to perform competitively."
But before the programme is able to start training children, it has to first ensure that its backbone; the coaches who are predominantly school teachers are all on the same page and understand the program vision and mission.
"The coaches, who are mostly teachers at the participating schools, will be empowered to organise the sessions themselves. We provide them with the knowledge so they can decide which area to focus on. They first start with the onboarding programme, and we try to meet them once every quarter via specially designed workshops or seminars and a sharing or feedback session.
"But we, on our side, are clear that the programme's main focus is on individual player development and not about winning games or competitions; at the grassroots level it's all about development. A problem that we see or face at the grassroots level is on winning thus the focus is on kids who can play well, while we want to shift the attention and focus on children who don't look that good initially but need time and space. We want to get every child involved in the beautiful game of football.
"As the number of schools who participate in the programme increases, that also grows the number of coaches subsequently creating a strong network of grassroots coaches. If we have four coaches per school and there are 20 participating schools, we're going to have 80 coaches. The knowledge transfer that can then be obtained from this network will be robust, and if all 80 of them can contribute to the network with their strengths, this hopefully can increase the knowledge development of grassroots football and thus uplift the program quality," he explained.
The programme is more than just developing football skills and techniques per say, according to Kanason. The personal development of the trainees too is an aspect that the program aspires to focus on.
For example, Selangor FC Soccer Schools have worked together with not-for-profit organisation Teach For Malaysia (TFM) in growing the children's leadership skills.
"We partnered with TFM because we want to use our programme as a platform to develop student leadership. Not every child who plays football is going to make it as a pro, so we need to provide them with something more than just football skills. TFM helped us develop the leadership aspect of the programme, through empowering the coaches with the needed knowledge, and hopefully we will be able to develop these kids in a more holistic manner; turning them into able leaders and good human beings.
"On top of this we have also been working with companies that participate in CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives, organising workshops for the kids and their parents, as another layer on top of the soccer school programme. One initiative has us working with children from the B40 community. The companies' involvement helps kids who cannot afford to attend the programme, by paying for their training for the whole year."
Kanason also added that the desire to get more girls to participate in the game of football at the grassroots level will also see the programme trying to get more girls to be involved next year.
Parents or schools interested in registering their children for the Selangor FC Soccer Schools programme in 2022 are welcome to email their enquiries to email@example.com.