In the last couple of years, Indonesia has become the flavor of the month for European football clubs, with several sending teams over for friendly matches that garner them hefty fees.
Some, including Chelsea, have gone a step further and tried to leave a lasting legacy in the country.
After playing a friendly against an Indonesian Select side last July, English Premier League club Chelsea launched its football school in Jakarta on Saturday, expecting it can give Indonesian children an opportunity to play the Chelsea way.
Dave Stewart, the senior development manager of the Chelsea Soccer School Indonesia, said the school did not just teach children how to play but also how to enjoy the game.
“We also have strict requirements for coaches. We believe in coaches’ personalities as well as their technical qualities. Our coaches should be able to interact with young children to make them passionate in playing football. Moreover, we aim to provide kids with a safe playing environment,” Stewart said.
While the club is Chelsea’s 10th football school in Asia, it is not the first club-affiliated football school in Indonesia. Liverpool recently established the Liverpool FC Academy Indonesia in Jakarta, while Soccer School Indonesia, affiliated with Arsenal, was established in 2007. Sihar Sitorus, a former executive committee member of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), in 2012 bought a franchise from Boca Juniors to establish the Boca Juniors Football Schools Indonesia.
Chelsea’s academy will charge a registration fee of Rp 1.2 million ($99.60) and Rp 880,000 for four 90-minute sessions. It says it will also have a program for talented youths who cannot afford the fees.
One of the coaching staff is local legend Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, who played in Italy and Switzerland during his career.
“I hope this school can produce many talented national team players in the near future,” he said.