CCA Previews ’18: Soccer Boys

By Mark Loh (18A13A), Captain; Mac Thanyaboon (18S03S), Vice-Captain; Reuben Suherman (18S03L), Quarter Master; Lee Xuan Yi (18S06N), Member

Anybody can kick a ball, but not everyone can play football. Here at Raffles Football, our aim is to ensure that you can change from someone who kicks the ball to someone who can think on his feet and enjoy the sport.

Despite being a developmental sport, we have not let that label deter us. We are consistently competitive in A Division, though we face immense opposition who have the benefit of acquiring numerous DSA players, a luxury we don’t usually have. Instead, our team focuses on strategy, hard work and and desire, which has brought us far every year. Raffles Football has earned a reputation for punching far above its weight, and has even reached the finals as recently as 2013. In fact, we are the last team outside of usual powerhouses MJC and VJC to have won the A Division title, and we endeavour to claim that back every year. Our current batch of players has already had a good success rate in terms of competitions, having won the only competition last year, the CJC invitational, which gives us a flawless 100% winning rate.

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Celebrating after our win in the CJC invitational last year.

Trainings are intense – we usually have them three times a week, each session supposed to last up to 3 hours, but we often try to push ourselves to go beyond that, with an additional session for video analysis if we happen to play a friendly or competitive match that week. The sessions are dedicated towards improving our technical skills, game concepts and fitness (which comes in particularly useful during the eagerly-anticipated NAPFA test). We are proud to say that even our most unfit players can still achieve a relatively (key word – relatively) successful 2.4km timing so that is another added benefit our CCA apparently provides.

“I wasn’t really interested in girls. Only football. I was just enjoying football all the time. There was a five-a-side next to the flat and I used to play there all the time. It was all about football. I wanted to be a professional. That was my goal. I didn’t want to be anything other than a footballer.”

– Paul Pogba

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In frame (from left to right): E-shaun covering his face to prevent tears streaming down his face, Darren clutching on dearly to his family jewels and Keeron who supposedly forgot the location of our goal

Our trainings involve a wide variety of drills: passing, shooting, defending, high press, possession, and giving the D (our secret move). The list could go on and on such is the absorbing complexity of football. There is never a dull moment during training. When you join Raffles Football, the only thing that keeps you going through a day of exciting lectures and lively tutorials is the prospect of booting up at 4.30 and taking to the field to play the game we love. We train hard for this privilege (and also because our coach tracks our heart rates with bikini-like sports bras) and you will frequently see us ending trainings late at night, sore, muddy and tired (for some of us to the point of having calf cramps and contusions every training) but coming out of them determined and feeling more alive than ever.

Yes, we have a culture of hard work, discipline and desire, coupled with the belief that we can succeed as long we as put our minds and bodies to it. That being said, we have not forgotten the element of fun and you will find seniors and juniors bonding through wild (but very much friendly) banter about anything, ranging from what happens on the pitch to what happens off it too, the latter usually generating greater deal of excitement and interest. As talented as we are at scoring on the pitch, we are however woefully profligate when it comes to scoring off the pitch (referring to our grades, of course!) Speaking of grades, our coach always tells us that succeeding academically is just as important, and if we want to play our football, we have to do well in our studies too, which fosters a very healthy environment for our players.

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”

– Bill Shankly

Our seniors last year were particularly cheeky in how they got our coach shaving cream (which was sacrilegious given how holy we consider his beard to be). Our coach himself is an inspiration, having dedicated hours of his own free time to help us become not just better players, but also better people. It’s important to note that if you have strong anti-Liverpool sentiments you may be prevented from joining (jk) or asked to take off your shorts bearing other clubs’ logos in the middle of the pitch. The only downside is his constant confiscation of our slippers when we wear them to training, which has left many of us leaving for home barefoot. Which is also why we decided to reward him for his dedication with a pair of hot pink slippers last Teacher’s Day!

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Us at the Bayern vs Chelsea game last year. We truly live and breathe football.

This is the spirit of Raffles Football – train hard with desire, but also have fun. And both work hand in hand when it comes to driving us towards success.

So if you are a person who loves the game and is passionate about football, do not hesitate to come for the trials. Our team has always valued the individual with a heart and who is willing to work hard over someone who is technically gifted but lacks those attributes. Should you have any questions, or feel like talking to an authentic Thai football star, please feel free to contact our overly friendly vice-captain Mac (8255 8811) or drop us an email at rafflesfootball2018@gmail.com.

If you have the belief, the desire, and the willingness to fight together as a team… we’re waiting for you.

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