South United Football Club (SUFC), Bengaluru’s first privately-owned Professional Football Club, has announced the expansion of its Academy to Pune, aiming to unlock and nurture the full potential of football in Pune.
SUFC's esteemed Academy, South United Football Academy (SUFA), has recently inaugurated three cutting-edge training hubs in Pune located in Bavdhan, Kharadi, and Undri, respectively.
SUFA's vision in Pune unfolds as a progressive pathway, welcoming children right from the age of 3 years onwards to embark on their footballing journey.
South United will run three programs at their training centers in the city, which will include their unique Toddler Development Program (3-5 Years), their flagship Youth Development Program (5-18 years), and their Elite Youth Teams (Under 13, Under 15, and 17) where talented athletes are provided a full scholarship from the Club, thereby opening a pathway to the Senior Team.
The Academy will conduct trials for the Elite program in the Under 13, Under 15, and Under 17 age groups categories at the Bavdhan Center in the coming days to select upcoming talent and incorporate them into the program.
Talking about the training centers, South United Sporting Director Terry Phelan said, "Bengaluru and Pune are similar in many ways. Bengaluru has now developed a structured footballing ecosystem focusing on grassroots development. Not every grassroots player makes it to the top level but every top-level player starts at the grassroots level. We have been flourishing in that environment and look forward to contributing to the growth of football in Pune. We believe Pune has a rich talent pool, passion for the game, and the required infrastructure for the sport to grow.”
Phelan also shared about opening a football hub in the neighbouring city of Solapur. He further revealed that the blueprint of a Baby League in the city has also been formalized, and preparations would begin soon.
“South United is part of a larger vision, which involves creating three fundamental pillars – culture, infrastructure, and a self-sustainable ecosystem. Our ecosystem comprises the Football Club, the Academy, Sports Events, Sports Infrastructure, Sports Education, and the Sports Foundation. We aspire to be a case study for other football clubs in the country that also have the same purpose," Sharan Parikh, Director, SUFC added.
SUFA has partnered with Pune-based Ileseum Clubs for their centres in Bavdhan, Undri, and Kharadi. The centers in Bavdhan and Kharadi have an 11-a-side pitch, while Undri has a 7-a-side pitch. SUFA will also run its Elite Programme, which will provide scholarships to selected talent from the city starting June in Bavdhan and Kharadi.