Chennai, April 11 2015 – Chennaiyin FC conducted a grassroots festival for the final selection of kids from Tamil Nadu for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs.
The festival was conducted by Chennaiyin FC technical director of grassroots Vivek Nagul along with several other coaches and volunteers, under the supervision of the ISL technical director of grassroots Piet Hubers at the training pitch of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here in the city on Saturday morning.
Hubers will be selecting the best kids from the grassroots program of each of the eight Hero Indian Super League franchises. As a part of that selection procedure, Chennaiyin FC has been conducting grassroots festivals since February and Saturday was the final leg of the selection for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs.
Chennaiyin FC have so far conducted over 50 grassroots festivals, reaching out to more than 50 schools and around 15,000 kids. The festivals have not only been conducted in Chennai but also in other parts of Tamil Nadu like Ooty and Coimbatore. Besides schools, Chennaiyin FC have also reached out to kids of NGOs like ‘Magic Bus’ and ‘Slum Soccer’.
However, only the kids born in the years 2002, 2003, and 2004 were eligible for selection for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs.
200 of the best kids from those age groups attended the festival on Saturday and once Hubers completes attending the final selections of all eight Hero Indian Super League franchises, the Dutchman will name the final list from Tamil Nadu.
“Chennaiyin FC have been working very hard on grassroots and today’s festival was very well organised. Everybody starting from the staff of the franchise, to the kids and parents showed great passion and enthusiasm. There is definitely some good talent in Tamil Nadu and I will be selecting the best of them once I am done assessing all the eight franchises,” said Hubers.
Saturday’s festival had participants from not only Chennai but also Ooty and Coimbatore with Chennaiyin FC arranging transport and accommodation for those kids.
Chennaiyin FC CEO Ashish Shah said, “We are delighted to have reached out to so many kids in Tamil Nadu in our grassroots program. I thank all my staff for the great work they have been putting in for the last two months and would also like to thank the kids, parents, schools, NGOs for participating with great passion. I hope many kids from Tamil Nadu get selected for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs.
“This is just the start of our long-term youth development plan. We will soon announce about our year-long grassroots program and will be opening Centres of Excellence which will act as a platform for both budding footballers and aspiring coaches in Tamil Nadu.”
Chennai, May 28 2015 – Two kids from Chennaiyin FC grassroots program – G Balaji and H Gulab – have been awarded the Reliance Foundation Young Champs scholarship.
Both Balaji and Gulab were part of the final 17 from Chennaiyin FC that made it to the final 200 of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs selection camp in Mumbai.
Following a week-long final trials in Mumbai, which was overseen by Piet Hubers, Technical Director of the ISL Grassroots Programme and Marcus Vaessen, Head Coach, RFYC Programme, eventually the duo from Chennai made it to the final 24 of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs scholarships and were awarded in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Starting next month, Balaji and Gulab along with the 22 other awardees will be groomed through exposure to global best practices and training modules to take on the mantle of next generation professional Indian footballers.
Gulab, who hails from Chetpet, is a central midfielder and was selected in the under-13 category. He was first spotted by Chennaiyin FC coaches in the grassroots festival at his school, MCC Higher Secondary School.
Balaji, who comes from Minjur, is a left winger and was selected in the under-12 category. His first step towards the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Scholarships was taken at a grassroots festival in his school, ANM High School.
“Both are very talented boys and interestingly both are huge admirers of Cristiano Ronaldo. We at Chennaiyin FC worked very hard on them and they responded with great effort. We are very proud to see them get into the final 24.
“Gulab is a natural athlete with great stamina and is capable of passing with both feet from the middle of the park. Balaji is a natural left-footed player and is very good with crossing. Both have immense potential and will get great exposure at the Reliance Foundation Young Champs. We wish them the very best,” said Chennaiyin FC’s technical director of grassroots Vivek Nagul.
School: ANM High School, Chennai
Position: Left Winger
School: MCC Higher Secondary School, Chennai
Position: Central Midfielder