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Mon 21 September 2020, 10:00|Tottenham Hotspur

The Club should like to congratulate Nathan Fariel Kusama, a participant on our Asia Player Development Programme delivered in partnership with AIA, who has earned an Academy contract with Persija Jakarta - one of the biggest club sides in Indonesia.

Nathan, 14, was discovered by our Global Football Coaching team at the AIA Junior Cup in Jakarta in 2017 and was one of the 12 best players in the tournament selected to enter the first ever AIA-Tottenham Hotspur Elite Training Camp held in Thailand later that year.

The camps are designed to give young players from across Asia an insight into what it takes to become a professional footballer, using methods inspired by the Tottenham Hotspur Academy.

His performances and attitude during the camp impressed our coaching team who have remained in contact with Nathan and his family, inviting him to train at two subsequent elite camps.

In May 2019, Nathan was given a unique experience of a trip to the UK, attending our final home game of the 2018-19 season against Everton as a ball assistant and meeting Heung-Min Son. During the trip, he also trained at one of the Club’s Player Development Centres.

In February this year, discussions began with Persija, to arrange a trial for Nathan to be accepted into their Academy programmme.

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic put plans on hold in March, this did not deter Nathan from his goal - he continued to train at home to further develop his technique and fitness.

His commitment to football throughout lockdown did not go unnoticed. In May, Nathan was selected by the Tottenham Hotspur Global Football Development coaches to participate in an online technical session. Nathan created a video demonstrating a range of techniques watched online by around 100,000 players and coaches.

This month, Persija once again invited Nathan to train at the academy. Impressed with his attitude and performance, Nathan was offered an Academy Contract and signed with the club.

He said: “I feel so happy and proud of myself after all the hard work and through all the ups and downs. Thank you to all the Tottenham Hotspur coaches for their unbelievable support and for pushing me to the limit. I am now able to join the biggest team in Indonesia and it’s just the beginning, I still have a lot work to do for the future.”

Yudi Kusama, Nathan’s father, said: “I’m so grateful to see his development - after having two injuries, his desire and commitment to come back is unstoppable. I’d also like to say thank you to the Tottenham Hotspur Global Football Development Coaches and AIA for their immense support, supervision and guidance throughout Nathan’s journey towards becoming a professional footballer.”

Anton Blackwood, Senior International Football Development Manager, Tottenham Hotspur, said: “Nathan has demonstrated excellent technical skill but what impressed us the most is his desire to learn and improve - we believe that his attitude and mentality goes hand in hand with ability and Nathan has all of those components.”

Adrian New, Diretor of Football Initiatives, AIA, said: “The AIA-Tottenham Hotspur football pathways are primarily designed to show children and parents the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. We don’t promise to turn young players into professional footballers but we do promise to help them maximise their potential and achieve their dreams.

“Nathan is a wonderful example of where we do discover someone with exceptional ability and attitude and we’re able to nurture them and their talent to put them on the road to a professional footballing career.

“I could not be more proud of Nathan, his father plus the Tottenham Hotspur coaches who together have combined to make Nathan’s dreams come true.”

The AIA-Tottenham Hotspur Player Development Programme was launched in 2017 as a way of helping people across Asia lead healthier, longer, better lives.

Our Global Football Development coaches have travelled across Asia working in 14 different countries to deliver world-class technical programmes, educational talks, workshops and exercise classes for participants of all ages.

The programme has seen over 60,000 people trained and has provided individuals with memorable and life enhancing experiences.

Learn more about our Global Football Development Programmes.