Young Lions Football Club (known as Garena Young Lions under a sponsorship deal with internet and mobile platform company Garena from the 2016 season) are an under-23 football team from Singapore. Selected players from the squad were also chosen to form the Singapore national under-23 football team. The team comes under the direct control of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), but is managed as a football club and has competed in Singapore's top club competition – the S.League – since 2003. By entering the Young Lions into the S.League, the FAS hopes to expose young players to top-level competition, thus helping to prepare them for international tournaments such as the Southeast Asian Games. As such, the Young Lions are one of the few football clubs in the world which place an age restriction on team members while playing in a top-flight professional league. Most of the Singaporean members in the Young Lions squad also represent the country in under-23 international tournaments.
While the bulk of the Young Lions squad is made up of members of Singapore's national under-23 team, the club also takes in promising young foreign players like Luka Savic in 2010. He played for FC Barcelona's youth team and once played for Villarreal CF B. He now plies his trade for SAFFC in the S.League. However, foreign players are normally only recruited into the Young Lions squad if they could potentially change their nationality to Singaporean and be eligible to play international football for Singapore at some point in the future.
The aim of creating the club was to give young Singaporean players who had shown talent and a potential the opportunity for further exposure in Singapore's top league. It was also hoped that keeping the bulk of the national under-23 squad together at club level would improve Singapore's chances in the international arena, particularly at the Southeast Asian Games (where only under-23 players are allowed to compete in the football competition).
The Young Lions play their league matches at the newly re-turfed Jalan Besar Stadium. Their best S.League finish was third, which they achieved in 2004 and 2006.Close