Tag: ISL (page 1 of 2)

Atletico Madrid Coaches in Kolkata for ATK Academy Trials

Champions of the Indian Super League’s (ISLs) inaugural season, Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) have done splendid work over the past two years in promoting grassroots football in the city.  In 2015 they brought West Bengal’s Indian Football Association’s (IFA) Nursery League back to life. Although their second run in the league was not as successful as the first, the club is still doing what they can for the sport. Co-owners, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh are both focused on setting up a football academy in the city and promoting the sport. At their proposed academy, bright young stars can focus on football training while continuing with their academics as well.

ATK Grassroots Youth

Eager Youth Attend ATK’s Grassroots Initiatives
Source: Atletico de Kolkata Facebook Page

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Atletico de Kolkata’s Grassroots Programme – Looking for Tomorrow’s Stars

The launch of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has definitely encouraged the sport of football in the country. While more youth have been drawn to the sport, the ISL teams are doing what they can to give youngsters a platform to showcase their talent. After winning the inaugural season of the league, Atletico de Kolkata brought West Bengal’s Indian Football Association’s (IFA) Nursery League back to life. While some may argue that the team had selfish interests in doing so, the fact of the matter is that nearly 2000 children below the age of 14 got a chance to play competitive football. The club used the league to source new talent to train, and the team’s talent spotters looked for 15 to 20 children to send for the ISL grassroots development programme.

In the second season of the ISL, the West Bengal team were unable to reach the finals, but they haven’t let this interfere with their strong grassroots programme. Sanjiv Goenka, co-owner of the club, has spoken about his hopes of also acquiring a foreign team, but for now, his immediate focus is to build a football academy in Kolkata and really work on grassroots football in the country.

ATK, 1st ISL Champions

The 1st ISL Champions
Source: Atletico de Kolkata Facebook Page

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Season 2 of Chennai’s Schools Premier League Kicks Off

The impact of Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga broadcasts on cable television combined with the growing influence of the two-year-old Indian Super League have been instrumental in bringing football into India’s consciousness. Today, everybody from school children to office-going senior executives are enjoying a kickabout at the numerous 5-a-side football turfs popping up all over the country. Interestingly, football has captured the imagination of people in regions where it has traditionally played second fiddle to cricket.

In this context, it is encouraging to see greater numbers of grassroots programs taking off in cities like Chennai, home of defending ISL champs, Chennaiyin FC. The latest boost to grassroots football in Chennai has come from the launch of Schools Premier League – Season 2, which has been graciously sponsored by Radiance Developers. Started in 2014, this year’s league features 16 school teams split into two groups. All schools in a group will play each other once and the top two teams from each group go on to qualify for the semi-finals.

Schools Premier League Launch 1

Celebrating the start of SPL – Season 2
Source: Chennaiyin FC Facebook

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Mumbai City FC & AIFF Conduct Grassroots Leadership Workshop

Mumbai City FC joined hands with AIFF to conduct a grassroots leadership workshop from 5th to 7th February at the Vidyadhiraja School and Junior College in Bhandup, Mumbai. A total of 27 participants attended the three-day workshop with girls comprising nearly 50% of the group. The workshop, headed by chief instructor, Dinesh Nair, included both theoretical as well as practical sessions, and on the last day, the participants organised a grassroots festival.

Grassroots Workshop Theory Session

Participants in a Theory Session
Source: Mumbai City FC Facebook Page

Numerous participants were from the host school itself, and as part of the theory sessions, they learnt about grassroots philosophy, the importance of small-sided games, characteristics of age groups, fair play and racism, coordination agility and motor skills, football laws and fundamentals, as well as management and injury prevention techniques.

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Shillong Lajong FC Roll Out Grassroots Program

SLFC Grassroots Festival 1

Celebrating the grassroots festival at Malki Ground
Source: SLFC Website

One of the biggest complaints that Indian football fans have is that professional football clubs, neither ISL nor I-League, seldom invest enough into their community and grassroots programs. However, goaded by the AIFF and Technical Director, Scott O’Donell, it is the I-League clubs in particular that are beginning to show the way forward. While Pune FC and Bengaluru FC have among the best community and grassroots programs in India run by professional clubs, it is encouraging to see others like Mumbai FC and Shillong Lajong FC (SLFC) reaching out.

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PSL and Mumbai City FC Partnership Boosts Grassroots Football

The Phoenix Sports & Leisure Group (PSL) India has been working to develop grassroots football in India over the last few years. They have set up organisations like Soccer Connections and Just For Kicks (JFK), where they coach children in football, talent development, and life skills. While JFK is focused predominantly on transforming education in low-income schools by introducing football to them, Soccer Connections aims to provide focused, fun, and family-oriented football training to children under the age of 12. They conduct their training sessions in affiliated schools, or on professional playing grounds.

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Is Pelé’s Visit Enough to Revive Football in India?

In 1888, India held the first ever Durand Cup. Almost every year since then, spectators have watched for free, and last year’s winners were awarded Rs. 50 lakh as prize money. Once the British left, the Indian Armed Forces took over, and they have done a great job of keeping the cup and the sport alive for over 125 years. Unfortunately, this year the Durand Cup will not be played. Ironically, while the age-old football tournament was being cancelled, the city of Kolkata was getting ready to welcome football legend Pelé back to their city after 38 long years.

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TOI Launches Girls Soccer League in Mumbai

With all eyes on the launch of ISL 2 on October 3rd, the time has come for Indian sports fans to switch channels from the-c-sport-that-cannot-be-mentioned to football. Yes, the ISL may have a limited impact at the grassroots level currently, but it is a nascent 3.5 month tournament that has certainly brought football to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness.

In keeping with this trend, the Mumbai Mirror, part of the larger Times of India group of publications, has joined hands with Western India Football Association (WIFA) and Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) to launch a unique tournament called the Mirror Girls Soccer League. To be played over two weekends in October at the Cooperage 5-a-side pitches in Mumbai, the Mirror Girls Soccer League comprises three categories; Under-14, Under-16 and Open/Free Age. Matches will be 5-a-side with 4 substitutes with rolling substitutions.

Given that this is targeted at a demographic starved of quality competition locally, it is definitely an initiative that will give a massive fillip for girls football in Mumbai, Maharashtra and even other cities in India. We hope that the Mirror Girls Soccer League is a massive success! Spread the word and let’s get as many girls to be part of the tournament!

Here is a quick snapshot of the tournament details & how you can participate:

Dates: 10-11 & 17-18 October, 2015

Venue: Cooperage 5-a-side pitches, Churchgate

Format: 5-a-side with 4 substitutes (rolling subs)

Categories: U14, U16 & Open/Free Age

Last Date for Registration: 1st October, 2015

To register, write to themirrorbrand@gmail.com or call MSSA on 022 22693974 or 22620400.

Mumbai City FC Launch Grassroots Football League

Mumbai City Grassroots League

Mumbai City FC, who were awarded the Best Grassroots Programme by the Reliance Foundation earlier in May this year, have built on their initial success by announcing the launch of a new Grassroots Football League in the city. The ISL club has joined hands with the Navi Mumbai Area Schools Association (NMASA) to set up a much-needed youth league for children in the Under-8, Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 age groups. The Mumbai City FC-NMASA Grassroots Football League will be held at the Fr Agnel Sports Complex in Vashi and will provide boys and girls from more than 150 schools in the Navi Mumbai area with competitive matches in a well-regulated and safe environment.

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The Story of ISL’s Flagship Grassroots Football Program

A lot of the focus of the Indian Super League (ISL) is often spent on global football stars playing in India. However, there is a lot going on beyond the glitzy commercials and lavish opening ceremonies – it’s the Reliance Foundation Young Champs program. Here’s a video of their story so far (heads up: it’s around 45 minutes long):

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