3 Lion City Sailors Academy footballers get early NS enlistment & tertiary education paid for

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[Note: All photo-taking and interviews for this article were conducted prior to the players’ NS enlistment on Mar. 28, 2022.]


Eligible players from Lion City Sailors (LCS) Academy can now use the club’s recruiting guarantee to complete their national service (NS) at a younger age to ensure that their professional development in football continues uninterrupted.

Football and NS

According to the Singapore Enlistment Act, all male Singaporeans must serve NS for two years at the age of 18 or older.

For athletes, especially football players, who undergo NS in the best ages 18 to 21 can hinder their development and future prospects in the sport.

Over the years, Singapore has seen cases where a player’s football career conflicts with his national duty.

This has provoked debates on the subject of NS suspension for football players in the country.

But in 2018, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen declared that football players can choose to enlist in the NS at a younger age so that they can continue their professional careers in the future without major obstacles.

Under Singapore Voluntary program for early enlistmentthose who are at least 16.5 years old can sign up for an early enrollment if they choose to do so.

Thus, the LCS Early Enlistment Bond was introduced in December 2020, a first of its kind in the history of Singapore’s club football.

LCS Bond for early enlistment

As part of the binding, players will be allowed to participate in training sessions and football matches if it is permitted according to the requirements of the NS units to which they are posted.

They will also receive an individualized training program to ensure that they continue to maintain a level of physical fitness as close to that required of elite athletes as possible.

Once these players have completed their NS commitments, they will return to LCS for a period of two years, where they will train for and compete in competitions set by the club.

Some of these competitions include the Center of Excellence League, the National Football League and the Singapore Premier League.

They can also be sent abroad for training opportunities and professional trials.

Higher education to be paid

In addition to the early enlistment, the full cost of the players’ post-secondary education after completing their NS will be borne by LCS, while also receiving a salary.

When signing the commitment, each player is expected to follow LCS’s code of conduct in fulfilling their duties as a full-time NSman, as well as student and football players when fulfilling their NS obligations.

Second round of boys during the bond

There are currently two groups of players from LCS Academy who have signed the bond, with the next batch ready to sign later in 2022r.

The second group of boys, who recently enlisted on March 28, 2022 after completing their O levels, are: Yasir Nizamudin, Marcus Mosses and Uvayn Kumar.

These boys were all born in 2005.

Image via LCS.

Image via LCS.

Image via LCS.

Marcus has been working at LCS Academy since February 2021.

Shared his reasons for signing the bond and said:

“At the age of 21 or 22 where people are starting to recruit, we have already done our duty to the nation. It frees us to take overseas opportunities with both hands and get fully involved in football.

Marcus also acknowledged that the band is a privilege for young players like him and his peers.

“We do not take things for granted. I give my all every day in training and do my best because I want to benefit from and learn from our coaches who come from the best academies in Europe.

It’s the same approach I think Yasir, Uvayn and I will take with us when we recruit. “

Image via LCS.

In the same way, Uvayn said that he had taken up the band so that he can fully focus on his football career in the future.

Although his parents had their reservations, Uvayn managed to explain how the band would benefit his future prospects.

“At first my parents were reluctant, to be honest, but when I explained how it would help me, they gladly gave me their full support.”

Yasir’s mother shared similar feelings because she was worried that her son would lose interest in his studies if he enlisted early.

Yasir sa:

“Actually, my mother would have preferred me to go to high school first because she’s worried I would lose interest in studying after NS, but I convinced her that I would continue to study academics after my ORD (operationally ready date).”

Image via LCS.

Yasir graduated from Victoria School with an L1R5 score of 12 in his O levels, a score that would qualify him for a local JC.

But his dedication and passion for football eventually led him to sign the contract.

“No matter which path I take, I’m sure I’ll still be studying and graduating eventually because it’s clear how important qualifications are in our country.

The coach (and the technical director of the academy) Luka Lalić talked to my parents and me, and that was when we realized that if I choose early recruitment, I will have more time and focus to take on football opportunities that come my way later.

[…]

Every Singaporean male will have to go through NS, and I do not think that should be an excuse to stop our football development. With the club’s support – along with our own discipline and motivation – we can use the time we have outside our duties to train and maintain our levels – and maybe even improve. “

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Top images courtesy of Lion City Sailors.

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