The ISL has come a long way since it started in 2013, legends of the game are coming to manage teams, new teams have formed and joined the league over the years and the future can only hold great things. However, one thing that has been a concern for the future of the league is grassroots football and the future homegrown stars of the league. Well, Bengaluru FC have lessened the concern with their announcement of a partnership with Boost which brings with it a host of other initiatives such as; an Inter-School Soccer Shield tournament, a Referee Education Program and a Coaching Education Program.
The Inter-School Soccer Shield will kick-off on January 23 and will play host to 60 school teams across 3 age groups; U10’s, U12’s and U14’s. The tournament will be held at Bangalore Football Stadium and many of the best youth scouts within the country will be watching on hoping to find the next big star to come out of India. The winning teams from each category will be awarded a 3-day training course with Bengaluru’s own licensed youth coaches. This will be a massive opportunity for any young kids, who are looking at a future in the game of football, to showcase their talents at a young age and truly achieve their potential.
Another of the many initiatives announced today was the Coaching Education Scheme. This scheme has been set up to allow coaches from the participating teams to take part in the AIFF ‘D’ and AFC ‘C’ license courses. This will be the first time this has been held in the city and it allows up and coming coaches to get a good qualification and really further their knowledge of the game. This, once again, will allow the young stars to get the proper coaching they need to achieve their potential with this, hopefully, ending in the league becoming popular worldwide.
With this Coaching Education Scheme, Bengaluru and Boost have introduced seminars for children and their parents, teaching them various aspects within sport such as nutrition, workouts and psychology. They have also introduced a Referee Education Scheme, allowing adults and children, who are still interested in a career in football but not specifically a playing career, to become a fully qualified referee, which helps to increase the standard of officiating in the league both in the present and the future.
Boost will also be having a few of their own initiatives as part of the partnership. Their flagship initiative, known as ‘Play the Pros’ will be happening in March 2018 and will allow select children to play and learn from their favourite ISL stars. Finally, a child mascot program will be introduced and give children the opportunity to walk out, with India’s biggest footballing stars, onto the pitch in front of thousands of fans.
Personally, I think this partnership and the initiatives to come from it are fantastic and can only take the league further for the future. I am seriously looking forward to the future with this whole initiative, starting with the Boost-BFC Inter-School Soccer Shield on January 23.