Tottenham Hotspur legends conduct workshop for Reliance Foundation Youth Sports coaches

“Hopefully, we can work together for the development of grassroots football here” Tottenham Hotspur legend Ledley King

Update: 2023-11-28 09:03 GMT

Tottenham Hotspur legend Ledley King

Knowledge sharing and exchange of relevant expertise is crucial for the development of football, especially in developing geographies. In that context, Tottenham Hotspur (THFC) legends Ledley King and Ossie Ardiles conducted a special workshop for Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) coaches in Mumbai. The workshop aimed to enrich the emerging tacticians rising through the RFYS ranks by sharing the coaching methodology prevalent at the THFC setup.

The workshop included both theoretical and practical demonstrations, with the Spurs duo participating in a footballing session with young players from the RFYS ecosystem. The presence of female match officials also enhanced the headcount, which is one of the objectives in the RFYS 2023-24 season.

“The collaboration (between Tottenham Hotspur and RFYS) was really good. We try to engross ourselves in communities wherever we travel. India has a big passion for football over here. We have gotten a chance to engage with them, and hopefully, we can work together more for the development of grassroots football here. It takes time to grow a game; you can’t be winning major tournaments all of a sudden. You have to put the right steps in place at the youth level and hopefully, in 15-20 years, we can see the hard work of everyone coming together at the world level. The talent is there, now it’s about building the infrastructure and training the coaches here to realize their potential.” Ledley said in an interaction.

Meanwhile, Ossie Ardiles invited the RFYS coaches to the Tottenham facility in North London, England, to gain further experience and enhance their skill sets. He encouraged the development of a bilateral engagement that can enable greater interaction between tacticians from both sides.

“Around the world, the best footballers start playing from a very young age. Anything that you do in life, if you start earlier, you can learn your lessons quicker along the way. It’s fundamental, that people pick up things quicker at a young age and that gives them experience along the way,” Ledley quipped. “Playing time is fundamental, when you are young and learning, you want to put that in the matches. I always encourage people to play at a level where they can get game time. Be in a team where you can have time on the pitch. Sometimes, you see young people playing in a team where the level is too high for them. You have to find the right fit and right team”.

Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS)

The ongoing 23/24 RFYS season, which kicked off in September 2023, is being hosted across 18 championship centers in the country. The RFYS is focusing on enhancing girls’ participation, with the introduction of the U-15 age group category in addition to the U-19 category for girls. The RFYS plans to upskill over 1,000 coaches and match officials, including 300 women.

Highlights of the 23/24 RFYHS season

  • The sixth season (2023/24) of the five-month-long RFYS tournament is being hosted across 18 championship centers in the country.
  • Increased Female Participation: RFYS is focusing on enhancing the participation of girls. This season introduced the U-15 age group category in addition to the U-19 category for girls
  • Up-skilling of coaching officials – RFYS plans to upskill over 1,000 coaches and match officials, including 300 women.
  • Participation:
  • Age Categories: U-15 & U-19 for girls; U-15, U-17, U-19, U-21 for boys.
  • 24,000+ athletes from 1650+ teams are expected to participate this season.
  • More than 2900 matches are to be played in the upcoming RFYS season.
  • Famous alumni: ISL players such as Hira Mondal (NorthEast United FC), Makan Winkle Chothe (Hyderabad FC), Gurnaj Singh Grewal (East Bengal FC) along with women’s footballers like Shilky Devi Hemam and Mariyammal Balamurugan are products of the RFYS ecosystem, having participated in the tournament previously. Melroy Melwin Assisi, who has netted once in five appearances for ISL debutants Punjab FC this season, is also someone who has played in the RFYS. They have set the blueprint for all the players taking part in the competition at present and showed that a promising pathway exists for them to take the step up in their respective professional careers.

The RFYS ecosystem has produced famous alumni such as ISL players Hira Mondal, Makan Winkle Chothe, and Gurnaj Singh Grewal, along with women’s footballers Shilky Devi Hemam and Mariyammal Balamurugan. Melroy Melwin Assisi, who has netted once in five appearances for ISL debutants Punjab FC this season, is also a product of the RFYS ecosystem.

Reliance Foundation celebrates the spirit of sports and works to ensure that more and more children and youth from all sections of society are able to play sports and build a fitter, stronger, and more active India. Their initiatives have touched the lives of over 22 million young people since 2013 across the country from 13,000+ schools and colleges, enabling an opportunity for talented kids anywhere to achieve their dream of a career/glory in sports. They are especially committed to ensuring more presence and success of girls and women athletes in India and design their programs in a manner that offers them maximum opportunities.

This workshop conducted by Tottenham Hotspur Legends for Reliance Foundation Youth Sports coaches in Mumbai is a significant step towards developing grassroots football in India. The exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two organizations can help in nurturing young talents and building a stronger football ecosystem in the country.

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