Young striker Rayan Edrees (2003) joins the U21

Rayan Edrees, an eighteen-year-old striker from Saudi Arabia, will be training with the U21 team of KVC Westerlo in the coming period. Rayan is part of the SSDFT program of the Saudi Ministry of Sport, a program that aims to prepare a new generation of promising talents to shine on the international soccer stage.

Saudi Arabia is incredibly ambitious when it comes to the future of Saudi soccer. The Asian country wants to showcase itself on the global soccer stage and has developed a plan for the future to do so. A plan that starts with nurturing and supporting young soccer talents. It does so in part through The Saudi Scholarship for Developing Football Talent (SSDFT), one of the support programs of the Ministry of Sports. Rayan Edrees is one of the youngsters in the training program, which is strongly believed in. The ultimate goal is to form a group of players who achieve international success. After recently winning the U19 Asian Cup, the future already looks bright.

Via the FPD Academy in Genk, Rayan ended up in Westerlo. FPD Academy offers players a total package and helps them to develop better, both physically and mentally. In October 2021 Rayan already trained for two weeks with the U21 of KVC Westerlo and now he will also train and develop himself in the coming period.

Promising youngster with good genes

How great the belief in Rayan is, is shown by the visit of Romeo Jozak to our club. Romeo Jozak, Football Technical Director at SSDFT, is an experienced Croatian soccer manager who recently coached the Kuwaiti national team. He was accompanied during the visit to our club by Noureddin Benali, one of the founders of the Genk FPD Academy.

Rayan Edrees is at the beginning of what may be a great career. In doing so, he can also count on the advice of his father, Hamzah Edrees (Idris). Hamzah was a striker himself and played for Saudi team Al-Ittihad, among others. As a member of the Saudi national team, Hamzah was part of the 1994 squad that participated in the World Championships in the United States. He faced Marc Wilmots, Marc Degryse and Michel Preud’homme, among others, there. The Red Devils lost that match 0-1 after a memorable solo goal by Al-Owairan. The latter then shot Saudi Arabia to the knockout round of the World Cup. For the Asian country, that is still a unique achievement, but one that it hopes the next generation of talents will emulate.

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