The National Sport of Singapore is Soccer.
Soccer in Singapore is a unifying force, bringing people together through a shared passion for the game.
To learn more about sports culture in Singapore, read our article about the most popular sports in Singapore.
Table of Contents
#1 History of Soccer
- 1892: Singapore Amateur Football Association, now known as the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), was founded.
- 1921: The first FAS Challenge Cup tournament took place, with 278 clubs participating.
- 1955: Singapore became a member of FIFA and subsequently joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 1956.
- 1966: Singapore won their first Malaysia Cup, an annual soccer tournament between Malaysian and Singaporean teams.
- 1996: The professional S.League, now known as the Singapore Premier League, was established.
- 2004: The Singapore national football team won the ASEAN Football Championship, also known as the Tiger Cup, for the first time.
- 2007: Singapore hosted the first-ever AFF Suzuki Cup, a biennial football championship for Southeast Asian countries, and won the tournament.
#2 Culture and Traditions
Soccer plays an essential role in Singapore’s cultural identity, with thousands of fans attending matches and supporting local clubs and the national team. It brings together people from various backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages, fostering social bonds and a united sense of pride in their country’s achievements on the pitch.
Major soccer events such as the Singapore Cup, AFF Suzuki Cup, and the Singapore Premier League are highly anticipated each year, with supporters eagerly following the progress of their favorite teams. The FAS Challenge Cup, which celebrates amateur soccer, is also an important event in Singapore’s soccer calendar.
Street soccer is a popular pastime in Singapore, further highlighting the sport’s cultural significance. The Lion City Cup, an international youth soccer tournament, gives an opportunity for young and talented players to gain exposure and showcase their skills on the international stage.
#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment
📕 Rules & Gameplay
- Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
- Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
- Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
- Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second-last opponent when the ball is played to them.
- Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.
⚙️ Equipment & Gear
- Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
- Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
- Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
- Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
- Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.
#4 Modern Development of Soccer
Soccer in Singapore has evolved alongside global trends, as domestic clubs and the national team strive to improve their performances and achieve greater success. The Football Association of Singapore focuses on building a strong youth development program, emphasizing skill development and coaching to nurture the next generation of soccer players.
Technological advancements like Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and goal-line technology have also made their way into Singapore soccer. These technologies help improve the game’s fairness and bring local soccer in line with global standards.
In recent years, Singapore has hosted international soccer events like the International Champions Cup, featuring top clubs from around the world. This has helped increase the city-state’s visibility in the international soccer scene, drawing in fans globally and inspiring local talent to reach for new heights.
#5 Soccer and the Olympics
Soccer has been a part of the Olympic Games since 1900 for men and 1996 for women. Though Singapore has not yet achieved significant success in soccer at the Olympic level, the nation’s participation in the games serves as an opportunity for local players to gain exposure and experience at the highest level of sports competition.
The Olympics has an enduring impact on soccer’s global recognition, as it showcases the sport to an international audience and celebrates the achievements of soccer players from various countries. It contributes to the overall popularity and development of the sport, inspiring aspiring athletes and nurturing a new generation of soccer enthusiasts.
#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements
- Fandi Ahmad: Widely regarded as Singapore’s greatest soccer player, he represented the national team from 1979 to 1997 and enjoyed a successful club career in Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Indonesia. Fandi also served as the head coach of the Young Lions and Malaysia Super League side, Johor Darul Ta’zim II.
- Sundram Moorthy: Known as ‘The Dazzler,’ Moorthy was a talented forward who represented the national team from 1980 to 1993. He played professionally in Malaysia and Switzerland before transitioning into coaching, most recently coaching the Singapore national team from 2016 to 2018.
- Indra Sahdan Daud: A prolific goal-scorer, Daud represented Singapore from 1997 to 2014, scoring over 30 goals in international competitions. He played a pivotal role in securing the AFF Championship titles in 2004 and 2007.
- Hariss Harun: A key midfield player, Harun has been playing for Singapore’s national team since 2007. He currently captains the team and has amassed over 90 caps. Harun also plays for Malaysian Super League giants Johor Darul Ta’zim, making him a prominent figure in regional soccer.
#7 Where to watch Soccer
- Singtel, StarHub, and Toggle: Major broadcasters in Singapore offering coverage of international matches, including the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and international tournaments like the World Cup and the AFC Champions League.
- Singapore Premier League: Catch local league matches live at various stadiums across Singapore, including the iconic Jalan Besar Stadium, Bishan Stadium, and Our Tampines Hub.
- National Stadium: The home of the Singapore national team, the National Stadium hosts international soccer events such as the AFF Suzuki Cup and friendly matches featuring world-renowned teams and players.