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Goal takes you through a tour of the upcoming Football School of India, situated in three cities of Maharashtra, that is sure to become a breeding ground for India's future stars

Continuing its special series on the elite football academies in India, Goal today has a look at one of the neo-age establishments that is fast ensuring it becomes a future supply-line for India's next generation of stars - Football School of India

Abhishek Yadav is the founder and coach-in-chief at the academy and has turned out for various clubs including Mumbai FC, Mahindra United and Churchill Brothers, winning all there is to won in India. He also has 33 international caps to his name for the Blue Tigers.

Here, in an exclusive interview with Goal, he lays down the goals, aspirations and methods he plans to implement to achieve success with the academy.

Vision

Football School of India (FSI) was born out of the intense desire of Yadav to ensure the children who are destined to become future footballers in country were equipped with the right amount of technical training at an early age so as to seamlessly develop themselves.

“We’re not saying we can make all the players represent the country, but if we at least make three wear the national colours, it's mission accomplished for us," said Yadav. He believes that the advice available for the youngsters today wasn't something the previous generation of players availed of. He also aims to integrate football in the existing education for the holistic development of the youngsters.


Background

As stated above, the academy was Yadav's initiation, with help from former Indian internationals Shanmugham Venkatesh and Deepak Mandal. Yadav thanks his friends and co-founders who travel specially to Mumbai to impart not just information to the kids, but also to motivate the kids.

FSI, which orignally began operation in Mumbai, has two other centres in Pune and Nashik. Motivation is a founding block for propagation of excellence in Abhishek's words and this is wired throughout the academy's functionings.  


Abhhishek Yadav is the co-founder of the academy

Personnel

Having just initiated the academy over one-and-a-half years ago, Yadav is the head coach. He is assisted in his work by TEN other coaches spread throughout the centres of FSI. Of these coaches, one holds a 'B' license badge, whilst the others are actively pursuing their coaching certificates.

Yadav states that the expenses of the coaches are all taken care of by the FSI management, so as to help them attain the required experience, with no burden on them. "I understand the troubles with the financial aspect of the license and don't want to burden them at all," says Yadav. 



The academy is one of the few new saplings who actively employs a sports psychologist as well as a dedicated physiotherapist. Yadav elucidates that the focus is also on the self-help aspect for kids. The most important information here is that the academy actively tries to involve the parents in the training and feedback programs to ensure the child develops in an overall fashion.

Scouting

Unlike many government funded institutes or private ones, FSI carries out active scouting missions in centres where football activities are a major draw. Having coaches spread throughout the country and armed with a keen eye for spotting talent, the founder explains, "Quality in quantity is my mantra. Our coaches are trained in spotting talent in a crowd and we make sure we attempt to entice the kids we shortlist from tournaments held in not just metros, but other towns as well."



The academy hopes to be a hotbed for Indian internationals in the future

With no specific period of the year for recruitment shortlisted, the focus is on talent recruitment immediately.

"If I find somebody better than anyone I've trained, I make the effort to entice him immediately," he explained.

Facilities

For an academy which operates within the age groups of Under-6 to Under-17, the institute is considerably well-equipped, especially keeping in mind its relative infancy. The academy has a field in Panvel, which has an astro-turf.

A gymnasium has been added too, though Yadav expounds that he doesn't encourage much participation from young kids in weight-lifting, though body exercises are the order of the day.



Their head coach though, thinks the ground serves the purpose of the academy, whilst highlighting the importance of the medicinal ball. He mentioned that they do a lot of training with the ball instead of mere physical drills so as to improve their touch on the ball.

“We do a lot of our work on-the-ball training. But I ensure the kids train and enlightened on the advantages of using a medicinal ball everyday.”

Exposure and tie-ups

Unfortunately, being a new initiative, Yadav has barely had time to advertise his academy to sponsors. He explains that prepping up the academy itself has been so demanding, that he has barely had time to look elsewhere.  He hopes to change this in the future though, to avoid fates of other renowned academies that have faded away due to lack of investments.

Time-table

The kids in the three age categories are subject to one session daily, which, as stated by Yadav, takes place from 4.30 to 6.30 in the evening, to facilitate school timings for kids. On weekends, morning sessions are prime focus. All sessions are pre-planned, with a lot of focus on "on-the-ball excellence."

Alumni Speak

"Learning Football is so much fun at Football School of India. We get to train with India international players. Just by playing with them we learn so much. I want to play for India some day,” says Nakul Shelke, a young colt training with the academy. 

Rating – 7/10

As Yadav hypothesizes, India is a hotbed for talent. He believes it is his prerogative to help them blossom, especially in the world of Indian football.


One hopes they achieve their goals so as to ensure a better, brighter future for Indian football.

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