Saturday Night Lights Commemorates 10 Year Anniversary Over 6000 Youths Benefitted from Programme
• Saturday Night Lights (SNL) commemorates its 10th anniversary with a five-month football league involving 18 SNL teams and eight invited teams from SportCares’ community partners
• More than 400 youths participate in the SNL programme annually
18 November 2023 – Saturday Night Lights (SNL), the flagship programme developed by Sport Singapore’s philanthropic arm, SportCares, to engage vulnerable youth using football, commemorated its 10th anniversary with the final match of the HEARTS Football League and a special photo exhibition. The event at the ActiveSG Woodlands Stadium was graced by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Ms Jane Ittogi and was attended by over 600 youths, their families and community partners.
Empowering Youths through Football
SportCares kickstarted the SNL programme in 2013 to provide youths aged 13 to 21 with a safe space to build relationships, develop character and lead self and others through the game of football. Since then, SNL has grown from three teams of 60 youths to a vibrant programme supporting 21 teams of over 400 youths at nine training venues. For an entire year, on Saturday nights, SNL youths will gather not just for football training, but also for character development and life skills sessions, learning positive values that have made an impact in their school and daily lives.
Commenting on how SNL has made a positive impact on his life, 21-year-old Muhammad Adil Juma’at who has been part of SNL for about five years and is transitioning into coaching at SNL said: “I used to be an introverted youth but since I joined SNL, I am now more engaged and motivated to lead. Through this programme and football, I am able to develop my leadership skills and learn how to work effectively with a team. Overall, the SNL has had a positive impact on my life and helped me become a better person. I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that I have had through the programme and look forward to continuing my journey in sports, leadership, and giving back to the community.”
The growth of the SNL would not have been possible without the unwavering support of corporate partners such as Changi Foundation, Singapore Pools and Singapore Cricket Club.
Recognising the importance of partners in this journey of care, Mr Alan Goh, CEO of Sport Singapore said: “I look forward to another decade and beyond of youth empowerment, and more stories of positive change sparked by our Saturday Night Lights (SNL) programme. Without the support and trust of our partners, it would have been difficult to sustain the level of professionalism and engagement of our youth participants that we see every week. I believe that SNL will continue to positively impact the lives of our youths and with more support from valued partners, this programme will grow from strength to strength.”
Mr Lam Chee Weng, CEO of Singapore Pools, affirmed his organisation’s commitment to supporting the SNL programme: “This year marks the 55th Anniversary of Singapore Pools and we are excited to share this milestone with Saturday Night Lights (SNL), continuing our commitment to social responsibility through our longstanding partnership since 2013. We are also heartened to see staff from Singapore Pools’ own football interest group actively volunteering their time to befriend, mentor and play with participating youths. Together, we will continue to create meaningful impact and build caring and inclusive communities through sport.”
Commemorating 10 Years of Saturday Night Lights
SportCares introduced the HEARTS Football League in 2022 to provide more competition opportunities for the youths to develop their skills and enhance their performance as teams. The HEARTS Football League follows a league system in which teams are classified into three categories – Women’s Open, Men’s Open, and Under-17 Boys. This year’s edition saw over 600 players from 18 SNL teams and eight invited teams from SportCares’ community partners participating islandwide on alternate Saturdays from July to November. The final match for the Men’s Open category and prize presentation took place on 18 November 2023 at ActiveSG Woodlands Stadium.
During the prize presentation, three League Champions – Singapore Management University (Women’s Open), Tasek Sailors (Under-17 Boys) and The New Team (Men’s Open) – received medals and trophies from President Tharman, who is also the Patron for SportCares.
A photo exhibition featuring a compilation of photographs taken by three SNL youths – Diyanah Ismail, Nur Syafinie Putri Rashid and Nur Syafina Putri Rashid, were also on display alongside images from the SportCares repository that captured key moments of the SNL football programme.
SportCares Hearts Football League
The SportCares Hearts Football League is an annual component of SNL and the 2023 edition, supported by Singapore Pools (Private) Limited, caters to 18 SNL teams and eight invited teams from SportCares’ network of community partners and stakeholders. The SportCares Hearts Football League follows a league system in which teams are classified into three categories – Women’s Open, Men’s Open, and Under-17 Boys.
Each participating team will register a maximum of 25 players, with 11 outfield players playing a “11 vs 11” format with unlimited substitutions. The format of the match is 40 minutes per half with 10 minutes half time break.
The teams have been competing on alternate Saturdays from 8 July, with the Under-17 Boys and Women’s Open categories concluding on 28 October 2023 while the Men’s Open category host its final matches on 18 November 2023.