HOMEGROUND (23 mins, documentary) is a love letter to playing spaces we call home.
Singapore is a football nation. Every weekend, thousands of amateur players, from schoolboys to office executives to retirees, gather to play the Beautiful Game. Not for glory, not for fame; but for passion, football and friendship. This spirit is forged in the neighbourhoods; void decks, street soccer courts, open fields or any patch of grass. All across Singapore, footballers have a place they call their ‘Homeground’.
Football can be played anywhere, and our neighbourhoods are Singapore’s playground. A baby first learns to kick a plastic ball in a HDB flat. A primary school boy forms a football team in his void deck. An aspiring national player scores his first goal for his school on a neighbourhood school field.
These weekend warriors show us where they play, and how they play. Concrete, sand, grass or artificial grass. Two sticks, bottles, shoes, or even school bags can make a goalpost.
Homeground is a tribute to the weekend warriors and the playing spaces close to our hearts.
Homeground is proudly supported by the POSB Storytellers Grant.
Stay updated for the online premiere of Homeground in Nov 2015!
Buangkok FC at their homeground in Buangkok
Steven Wong, 60, plays football every weekend
Kids take over a void deck in Hougang
I made my first short film in 2005, a comedy called Tak Giu (Kick Ball), about the challenges three boys face when looking for a field to play football in Singapore.
Tak Giu became an internet hit and made waves in the football community. 2 years after Tak Giu was released, 284 State fields were upgraded and opened for public recreation.
Now, ten years after Tak Giu, with increasing urban development, recreational spaces are getting even more limited. However, Singaporeans still find spaces to play soccer and all kinds of sports. As a kid growing up in a HDB flat and playing football in void decks, I have seen how far Singapore has progressed. From basketball courts to futsal pitches with artificial grass, to the new state-of-the-art Sports Hub, Singaporeans' love for football is a great story to tell. There is even a futsal pitch on the rooftop of a hotel in town!
The film is inspired by my very own Homeground, a humble basketball court where I have made many friends, including 60 year old Uncle Steven, who is featured in the film. I still play soccer there till this day. I realise, there are many places in Singapore where many weekend warriors consider their own Homeground.
Homeground is my love letter to Singapore and its neighbourhoods - full of passion, friendships and dreams, united by one love: Football.
- Jacen Tan