Every young footballer dreams about making it to the big leagues. Every child starts playing football as a hobby, but for some, football becomes their whole life. U Dream Football is a program that helps those individuals who want to make it big in the football world. The program works under the guidance of Bundesliga and in association with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The U Dream Football program started in 2014 to scout for talented individuals who were Under-15, but had a flair for football. After screening more than 10,000 students in over 800 schools across the country, program coaches from Germany shortlisted 15 of India’s finest U-15 footballers, and took them to Germany earlier this year to train at the club’s youth training academy in Zuzenhausen for the next 6 years.
While at the Zuzenhausen Youth Development Centre, the aspiring footballers have access to high-quality grass pitches, indoor courts, a state-of-the-art gym, modern physiotherapy, meeting rooms, game rooms, and study rooms. They live in residential service apartments under the care of the team managers and support staff, with two boys sharing a furnished room equipped with a TV, internet access and a kitchenette. All meals are also provided for by U Dream.
While a lot of importance is given to football training, the U Dream Program also emphasizes academic development. Qualified CBSE board teachers from India have accompanied the trainees, will live with them while they are in Germany, and teach them until class 12, following which, the students can continue their higher education at a German University.
As far as football training and exposure is concerned, the youth are given a chance to play trial matches for major club scouts, as well as competitive matches with other Bundesliga clubs. Referee seminars and endurance focus sessions are also part of the curriculum there. The hope is that the support of the foreign infrastructure available in Germany will help develop these young talented players into professionals.
While the first batch of U Dreamers has already started their long journey to professional football, the U Dream team is back in India scouting for new talent! This year, coaches from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim are not just looking for new players, but are also conducting football clinics for everybody looking to learn a little bit more about the sport. The coaches will visit over 100 schools in 11 cities before deciding who gets to train at Zuzenhausen for the next 6 years. While 6 years may seem like a long time to spend away from home, let’s take a look at how well the fledgling program has done so far.
To find out more you can write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org , or register for the current round of scouting here.