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Wolves academy coaches believe Singapore has talent with good technical ability

10:46 am AEST 21/6/19
Wolverhampton Wolves, Singapore
The coach believes that the Singaporean cadets are talented and is excited to meet the kids in person ...

Wolverhampton Wanderers, in association with F17 Academy in Singapore, are conducting a football coaching camp in the Asian country, helmed by some of their top youth coaches.

Wolves' U14 Head Coach Leon Jackson and his assistant Kevin Foley are overseeing the series of football camps, coaching conventions and tournaments between June 12 and 23rd this year.

It is a highly exciting avenue for Singapore youngsters, given that Wolves' academy is highly-rated in England and is considered one of the best. Leon Jackson, who also serves as the club's Youth Development Phase Lead Coach, feels that a lot of their success is down to how they procure and train players from the right age.

"Our success is down to how we procure players and how we develop players from a young age to get into the professional football, the first team. There are quite a few players who have been there from the age of eight and now they are 17, 18, 19 or in the U23s or playing first team football. I think that is a club methodology we have managed to create right from the younger ages all the way through to adult football. We make use of education, sports science and medical facilities. We all work very closely," he said.

The coach believes that the Singaporean cadets are talented and is excited to meet the kids in person.

"I think there are really good technical players from what I have seen. But from what I have seen is that they are good with the ball. It’s exciting and you can see that the kids enjoy it. For me, that is one of the most important things. If you don’t enjoy what you do how can you succeed?," he observed.

Leon Jackson also felt that the F17 Academy’s focus on modern methods like the Guided Discovery method will only help Singapore’s talent develop in the right way. The approach invites the player to think, to go beyond the given information and then discover the correct skills.

“The guided discovery method of F17 allows for players to explore, learn and execute while having fun. F17 focus on coaches development, guided discovery for the players, installing a strong structure for the academy and to bring out the best in every player by introducing them to competitive footballing avenues.

“It is these similarities and a commitment to do better that has led to wolves and F17 working together,” he added.

The coach also emphasised the need to grasp the understanding of the game at a very young age. "I think we get players at seven or eight and they sign their first contract at nine. It is certainly not as competitive as they get in the older ages. As I said the enjoyment and the enthusiasm has to be there first and foremost.

"Once they get to 13, 14 and 15, that is when they start the tactical understanding and knowledge about the game. Then they can become serious about the game. But there has to be enjoyment and fun in that as well," he continued.

"I think you should be very patient and make sure what the boy or girl is doing they are enjoying it. Parents play a massive role in influencing their children."

He also said that the focus should be on an education system for coaches in order to improve the quality of football in Singapore.

"I think if there is an education system for coaches (quality of football will improve). There has to be a good structure at the top to develop better coaches. If you develop good coaches that will automatically develop better players. If at the top, the structure is not right it won’t work."

Kevin Foley, who is the U14 Assistant Coach for Wolves, feels that youngsters should be introduced to competitive football as early as possible. He reveals playing just for the sake of it does not create winners.

He also stated that a good Sports Science department is essential in nurturing talent in any club. "To get a Category 1 club status, you need to have a Sports Science department and that has pushed the clubs to get all these done (in England). Now, with the regulations in place, you have to tick all these boxes and you're now getting all these stats which help identify good players.

"I think if there is a good player there, you will work your way through the system. Someone will see your potential."