Kolkata: Looking at the significance of football and the popularity it is gaining in the North East India, Tata Trusts in association with U Dream Football has dedicated its energies to amplifying the tremendous talent in the region. As part of this initiative the first batch of 35 kids will receive full-time training in Germany (Europe) for six years, allowing them to advance as professional footballers. In the process, the programme intends to bring about opportunities for marginalised young children through an integrated learning programme while addressing their educational and skills requirements.
On this occasion, Mr. Supratik Sen, CEO, U Sports, said: "The programme will be called Tata Trusts U Dream Football. U Dream Football, together with Tata Trusts, will work towards scaling-up grassroots football development in the country. We will be sending 35 kids this year and will aim to have 150 - 200 kids placed in Europe and another 600 at the Tata Trusts – U Dream Football Centres of Excellence in India."
"We're focused on building a holistic ecosystem for football in the country, thereby, raising the standard of the sport in the country. This would be the programme that would progressively offer players from India a chance to play in the best leagues of the world, Bundesliga being the obvious first choice." he concluded.
The program aims to identify and nurture the innate talents of young children in the nation, beginning with our flagship of setting up nearly 100 grassroots football academies across Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam and Nagaland for imparting professional training to children in the age group of 8 - 14 years. Centres of Excellence will also be established in select states to ensure growth and development of children for state and national level competitions; promote competitive culture in sports; while introducing international standards through state-of-the-art infrastructure and mentorship by world class trainers and coaches.
Emphasising on the significance of the programme, Mr. Biswanath Sinha, Associate Director, Tata Trusts, said, "It is a well-known fact that, in comparison to academics, sports often takes the backseat. With the overwhelming talent in this region, we hope that the right mix of academic and sports training will nurture children with excellence and help them scale new heights in the field of football and other sports. This will not only make communities recognise sports as a means to diversified livelihoods, but understand its significance as a catalyst for sustainable development."
"Tata Trusts U Dream Football programme is one-of-a-kind skill enhancement programme that offers talented young children a unique opportunity to pursue a career in football and gain recognition not only at home, but also on global platforms. We aim to make it a self-sustaining programme in the long run and help our country become one of the leading football playing countries in Asia," he further added.
The ecosystem that Tata Trusts and U Dream intends to create – for trained players at its Centres of Excellence and through long-term training in Europe, will allow football players an opportunity to viable career options, creating a future where Indian football could feature on the global map. These 35 children represent the aspirations of a generation and hold within this experience the possibility of Global recognition, employment and National pride.
The North Eastern Region of India, also known as the nursery of Indian football, has produced most of the country's football players and therefore provides the perfect launching pad for the country's success in the sport.
About Tata Trusts
Tata Trusts is amongst India's oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development. Since its inception, Tata Trusts has played a pioneering role in transforming traditional ideas of philanthropy to make impactful sustainable change in the lives of the communities served. Through direct implementation, co-partnership strategies and grant making, the Trusts support and drive innovation in the areas of education; healthcare and nutrition; rural livelihoods; natural resources management; enhancing civil society and governance and media, arts, crafts and culture. Tata Trusts continue to be guided by the principles of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata and through his vision of proactive philanthropy, the Trusts catalyse societal development while ensuring that initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation.
For more information, please visit http://tatatrusts.org
About U Dream Football:
U Dream Football is an international football training programme offering young talented footballers a unique opportunity to pursue a career as a professional footballer. Brought to you by U Sports, U Dream Football aims to identify talent at an early stage and offer international training, academic and infrastructure support to help them advance as a professional footballer.
The program is completely based in Germany and therefore embedded into the German Philosophy of Football and Education. The directions on the program are greatly influenced and derived from the Bundesliga and its recommended clubs. The program derives positive influences from mainly the Bundesliga Clubs - starting with TSG 1899 Hoffenhiem and also looks for insights towards a number of European football clubs. U Dream Football aims to build a deep seeded foundation for the radical development and transformation of Indian football. It is among the few football training programmes that also lays equal emphasis on the academic development of the young athlete, as it offers CBSE schooling and the opportunity to pursue higher university studies or skill based programmes.
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Martand Singh Piplodia
Avian Media, Delhi
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