As we approach the annual Canon Lion City Cup which features our nation’s best footballing youths, aXrosstheline.com spoke to one of the nation’s budding footballers, 12-year-old Joel Chew, about his dream to one day don the red of the Republic’s Lions.
A wall of medals greeted the editorial team in the hallway of the youngster’s home, more than 30 medals from tournaments that have taken Joel to Hong Kong,China,Vietnam,Thailand,Malaysia, and as far as Sweden in the last three years.
His football journey started from the age of six when his aptitude for sports was spotted by his pre-school teacher, and his parents duly enrolled him in the Canadian Pizza Soccer School which provided the only platform for Joel who had enrolled into Lakeside Primary School which does not offer football as a Co-curricular Activity (CCA).
Joel was approached by the Football Association of Singapore to join its Junior Centre of Excellence under-10 category and later he started training with the Junior Sports Academies (JSA), an initiative between the Ministry of Education and National Sports Associations.
Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) identified Joel and three of his team mates from JSSL for their school team and before long, the quartet came to form the backbone of the school’s team.
Deployed as a left winger for ACS (J) and right winger for JSSL Arsenal Soccer School, he had the opportunity to work on becoming a more complete footballer. Joel has since participated in over 25 tournaments and was named the Most Valuable Player in the Royal Selangor Cup last December after JSSL were crowned Champions of the tournament. The Singapore Sports School is almost certainly his next destination after being offered a place in 2013.
Over the last three years, Joel’s parents have already forked out an estimated $25,000 on just traveling expenses for overseas tournaments.
Joel’s father James explained: “If he has the talent and is willing to work hard for it, as parents we have to do our best to support him.”
When asked about bad tackles on him, this is what Joel has to say: “I’ll just stand up and continue playing.”
Joel is currently in Vietnam for a training tour with the JSA, working hard so he can one day achieve his dream of becoming a Lion.