The Chelsea FC Foundation International Development Centre Singapore (CFC IDC SG) received a special guest last week when former Chelsea Women defender Claire Rafferty dropped by to help out with the centre’s on-going football activities.
Rafferty, who spent 11 years as a player with the Blues from 2007 to 2018, returned to the club this summer in a commercial role and while in Asia on business, she was delighted to take time off from her busy schedule to lend a hand to the Chelsea FC Foundation coaches in the Lion City.
She joined the age-group training sessions at United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) east campus and helped the Foundation coaches put the trainees through their paces before fielding questions from the eager youngsters after their sessions.
‘It was wonderful to meet those young players and to share my experiences as a professional player with them,’ said Rafferty, who won two FA Women’s Super League titles and two FA Women’s Cups during her time with the Blues.
‘I spoke about the journey I went through at Chelsea – the challenges I faced when I was their age, the injuries and setbacks that happened and working together with team-mates on and off the pitch to achieve our goals.’
Rafferty also helped out during a 45-minute training session for local women’s side Still Aerion FC, who receive coach education and technical support from CFC IDC SG and are preparing to play in the FAS Women’s Challenge Cup final later this week.
‘I had a great time being out on the pitch and being a role model to them,’ said the former England international.
‘It was good to express what I had learned in my time as a player and to help out with what the club is doing, especially in the women’s game.
‘Chelsea are leading the way in women’s football in England right now and it’s good to be part of what we are doing to develop the game in other countries.’
James Hagerty, Chelsea FC Foundation football development officer (Singapore), felt the trainees had gained a great deal from the experience of meeting a decorated Chelsea player like Rafferty.
‘It was an amazing experience for our junior players to have the opportunity to ask Claire questions about her career and to learn about the hard work and determination required to become a professional footballer,’ he said
‘Ahead of the final of the FAS Challenge Cup, it was also very inspirational for the Still Aerion players to have the chance to hear how Claire prepared for an important fixture like a cup final.
‘This was a genuine Chelsea FC experience for our trainees and it demonstrates the club’s continued commitment to Singaporean football, and the provision of inspirational experiences and first-class football opportunities for all.’
For more information on the Chelsea FC International Development Centre Singapore, please click here.