Hundreds of kids ditched their umbrellas and raincoats as Sporting Clube de Goa welcomed the monsoons with a fun filled Grassroots festival organized to mark the AFC Grassroots day which is observed on 15th of May annually. The kids who were the part of Sporting Academy and their associate schools came out in large numbers for a fun filled session on Wednesday at Don Bosco Ground, Panaji. To give the kids a taste of what happens in professional football, they were divided into 14 teams; Sporting’s senior players played the role of team-owner and mentor. The teams then competed each other in various light exercises and fun games across 7 stations which were meticulously planned to ensure smooth cross-over. The stations were headed by various academy and youth team coaches, who conducted small sided games and activities for the teams. The kids enjoyed the entire session while learning new tricks from the best in the business. Enthusiastic involvement of senior players propelled the spirits of these young kids as they got some basic training a lot of guidance from some of their idols. Declaring the festival open Fr. Avan Carvalho of Don Bosco High School stressed on the importance of integrating sports with regular studies and the joint efforts Sporting Clube de Goa along with Don Bosco High School have been doing over the past years to achieve the same. Thrilled with the response he jokingly mentioned “It’s just the 3rd day of your school and you guys are already set to kick the ball with Sporting.”
This grassroot festival will set the mood for Sporting’s academy and youth team training which would kick start from the month of August. With the response growing steadily Sporting’s youth coaches are gearing up for an exciting season ahead. Speaking to the media clubs General Secretary Mr. Edward Noronha mentioned “We are making an effort to develop the game of football with a proper foundation. Here at Sporting we are gradually building a triangular bond around the kids between the Club, the School and the Parents. This is very essential for the overall development of any athlete.” He further added “To start with I believe we been able to achieve quite a lot here, the response of around 160 kids during rains supported by the schools and most of the parents who waited and watched the entire session speaks for itself.”
The Club CEO Mr. Victor Fernandes mentioned “Grassroots are the fundamental part of the overall structure of any football club. It’s essential to unearth talent at a very young age so that they can receive proper training and maintain a healthy life to transform into a professional player. Here at Sporting we constantly look for local talent and provide them with proper facilities and training, we believe in providing a platform for the local boys to compete at the national stage. Over the coming years we plan to have many more activities and spread the love for football to every part of the state.”
Sporting head coach Mateus Costa who was also actively involved in the festival mentioned “We consider Grassroots as a very important component of our club; we have a set of fantastic experienced coaches who work tirelessly to shape up the academy and youth teams. Their achievements year after year shows the brighter picture. We would love to promote more and more boys from our youth ranks into the senior teams.”
The Festival was a grand success and the kids enjoyed every single moment of the same. Participating students were also awarded a certificate at the hands of various Sporting players.