In August last year, Star Sports launched an interesting campaign called Young Heroes. A unique scouting and Under-15 football tournament, the campaign was started to boost grassroots football in the country, and unearth hitherto unknown football talents for the future. Conducted in 15 cities across India, around 60 to 100 schools from each city were invited to participate in the Young Heroes program. The competition attracted approximately 420,000 students and matches were played for two days in every city. These matches were attended by a group of scouts headed by ex-Iranian football international, Jamshid Nassiri, who selected 3-4 boys from each team to participate in a training camp.
Of all the boys who participated in the matches, 45 were chosen for the 7-10 day training camp, where they interacted with I-League and ISL coaches. They also played friendly matches while at the camp, and after 10 days, 16 of the best players have been chosen for an exposure trip to Spain!
One of the finds of the Young Heroes program, although he hasn’t been picked among the 16 best players, was a young lad from Kolkata, Biswajit Sakar. Despite losing his left arm, Biswajit, who has been playing football for 7 years now, played with as much passion and skill as his peers. Undeterred, he continues to pursue his dream of playing the sport that he loves! Here’s a little clip of Biswajit, talking about his love for the sport and the matches that he played during the Young Heroes campaign.
As for the 16 boys who have been selected, they are scheduled to leave on the 15th of April this year and will train with the youth coaches at Real Madrid and the Spanish Federation. While this by itself is fantastic, the young footballers will also get to train in world class facilities, meet professional football players, watch a competitive league match, and explore the city! Star Sports and IDBI Federal have really given grassroots football in India a boost with their Young Heroes campaign, and have given these 16 Under-15 youth the chance of a lifetime!
Here’s a list of the 16 aspiring footballers, who will get a chance to pursue their dream and meet their heroes:
A massive congratulations to all the players who will be flying to Spain, and a big kudos to Star Sports and IDBI Federal for making it all possible. We’re eagerly waiting for the young footballers to come back from Spain, and share their experiences with the rest of India!