Their opponents were bigger and faster, but the Junior Football School & League (JSSL)-Arsenal teams held their own at the prestigious Gothia Youth World Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden, last month.
Three of their nine teams reached the final eight, with the girls' Under-12s making it all the way to the final.
The boys' U-12 and U-13 teams were knocked out on penalties by European sides.
The girls lost the final 8-1 to AIK FF, a top academy from Sweden, but JSSL general manager Harvey Davis was so heartened by the overall performance that he is planning an elite training programme in preparation for next year.
The school will launch the JSSL elite academy next month, specially for the top teams in each age category - U-8 to U-16 for boys, and U-9 to U-13 for girls.
The teams will then train four times a week and play in the Super League, which comprises the best teams from all the football schools. "We trained for 10 weeks in preparation for the Gothia Cup, and saw some really good results," said Davis.
"So, we thought, let's prepare over 12 months and see how far we can go in next year's edition.
"The only way to success is consistent training under a proper programme. The elite academy is dedicated to the top players for a 12-month period.
"A coach from Arsenal will join us and there will also be classroom sessions, where the kids will be coached on tactics."
JSSL, which has 1,400 kids registered, will host open trials for the Super League teams three times - on Aug 17, 24 and 31 - at Victoria Junior College.
Coach Yazrim Mohd Amin, who led the boys' U-14 team in the Gothia Cup, said the tournament - which attracted 1,600 teams from more than 50 countries - is an excellent test for the kids.
"There are teams from Everton, Flamengo and Corinthians competing there, and some of our boys tend to get a bit afraid (of the challenge)," he said.
"But the coaches motivate them and help change their mindset.
"The JSSL teams were well prepared this year. They may have lost out physically, but they coped well because of their good ball play."
This article was first published on August 08, 2014.
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