The inaugural Singapore United Football Fiesta this July looks to bring together communities through sport.

Singapore United are working together with S-League heavy-hitters, Home United FC to host a 5-a-side football weekend extravaganza – and you can get involved. Held on 22-23 July at the Home United Youth Football Academy grounds, it looks set to be a fun weekend of soccer, sunshine, and scores of families.

On the Saturday there are plans for an U14s and U16s kids tournament – we all know how strong our ANZA Soccer stars are – as well as a corporate competition so why not pull together a team of colleagues or promote a team-building day? The Sunday is set aside for a World Cup, a chance to play for the glory of the country of your birth – or citizenship! Head to the website to register teams and pay the entry fees.

Aside from the antics on pitch, there’s plenty going on the sidelines too including appearances by some of the Home United star players, lucky draws, prizes to be won, a flew market to wander around and lots of local and international food on offer to keep your energy levels up.

Not only is this a great family event to busy the kids with during the summer break, but it’s all for a good cause too – they’re raising money for Home United’s Youth At Risk programme.

We talk to Home United FC CEO, Azrul Shah Sohaimi to hear more.

When and why was Home United’s Youth-At- Risk programme set-up?

“It was launched by our patron at the time, Minister Masagos Zulkifli in October2014. This was the same year that HYFA (the academy) was launched. The programme is simply titled “Project HYFA” with its tagline “From grassroots toglory” alluding to our vision of developing holistic football players through this programme.It was set-up as a way to ensure that underprivileged youth as well as youth-at- risk (i.e. individuals who may be more predisposed to unsociable behaviour due to prevailing family or social circumstances) could realise their fullest potential through football. We were aware that football was a medium to engage these youth, and instill critical character values that could serve them well in their life outside of football.”

How do you help?

“Project HYFA helps these youths by providing a year-round football based programme and is split into three areas: Technical, Character Development and Sports Performance. Based on these factors, a yearly plan is conceptualised and then put into operation. HUFC hires our own staff to run the programmes and includes coaches, administrative staff, and specialists (i.e. sport scientists).”How many children has the programme helped so far?“We have had an annual enrolment of between 150-200 trainees since 2014. This depends on the structure of competitions organized at national level as we tag the number of trainees selected based on this.”

How is the programme looking to grow?

“Moving forwards, the focus is not on the numbers enrolled, but more on the amount of help that we can extend to each trainee. To this end, we hope to raise funds that will be used to provide all the necessary resources each trainee will need to realise his/her fullest potential.

“The money raised over this weekend will be used to provide the basic necessities to the trainees such as food and drink that they can consume after training, purchase of school books, or payment of tuition fees, purchase of football equipment (boots, bag, socks etc.) and payment for concession passes for public transport.”