Recently crowned Indian Super League’s (ISL) champions Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) are planning to expand their current base of 15 soccer schools.
By Rudrankar Raha
Bangalore, March 28, 2019
“Our residential academy is at Bellandur. We started out with four soccer schools and now we have 15 centers and are planning to come up with more,” said Samyukth, the administration team of the BFC’s soccer schools.
“Soccer schools act as a platform for all kinds to be pushed into the academy, like a talent pool where we search for the best players. There is a process to get into youth academies. You can enter an academy through trials, soccer schools, or scouting.
Scouting and trials are left to the coaches. We try to find talent in soccer schools. Once we find some, we recommend them to the senior coaches, and senior coaches monitor them,” added Samyukth.
The model of training of soccer schools is designed by the head of Youth development, Naushad Moosa who is the assistant coach of the first team and the coach of the B team.
Bengaluru FC’s youth programs have a hierarchical structure. BFC has players under the ages of nine, 11, 13, 14, and 16. The soccer schools are offered to children as young as four. Atulesh Pandey, a football fan said, “Soccer schools are very important in India for the growth of football. There’s an immense amount of talent throughout the country waiting to be mined. Giving kids the right kind of approach and training from the very beginning is very essential to mold them into a world class footballer.”
When asked, how far do you think India has to go to reach the standards of youth academies of the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United, Pandey replied: “It’s going to be a long walk before we reach there. Long and tiring. The support, equipment, care and training standard provided by Barca and United academies is at another level. Then again, football is not just a sport in those parts of Europe. They are as passionate about football as Indians are about cricket. To reach that level, Indian youth academies will have to produce some outstanding players. Players who inspire the nation. Then they will get the attention and investment they deserve.”