A total of 15 Under-14 footballers, including six from Mumbai and the rest from Maharashtra, will travel to Germany for a six-year training programme with Bundeliga side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim as part of the U Dream Football Programme.
Two more boys will leave for Germany later this year and during their stay in Germany, they will be accompanied by coaches – former India captain Mahesh Gawli and John Kenneth Raj.
Also accompanying the children will be three CBSE Certified teachers who would monitor and ensure their adherence towards the Indian CBSE Curriculum while in Germany.
On their return from their six-year tenure, the students will be enrolled at the U Dream Haryana Football Club, which was specifically formed in association with the Haryana Football Association for these students, it was announced.
The 15 boys to be initially sent are: Pranav Kanse (Kolhapur), Akash Mishra (Lucknow), Pradeep Mannewar (Udaipur), Aniket Varekar (Kolhapur), Shivam Maan (New Delhi), Kumar Rathod (Mumbai), Ayush Adhikari (Noida), Ankit Bhuyan (Bhubaneshwar), Ishant Rana (Mumbai), Raul Lewis (Mumbai), Armaan Kalra (Gurgaon), Delton Colaco, Kimran Fernandes, Wellyster Mendes (Goa) and Manish Malyadri Siddha (Pune).
“Unlike other football programmes, the long-term association allows students to truly imbibe the spirit of the game and also understand an international level of professionalism that accompanies being a professional footballer. We believe that this programme will truly allow us to be catalysts of change at the grassroot level of the sport,” said Supratik Sen, CEO of U Sports.
The full-scholarship programme, done under the collaborative guidance of Bundesliga, was a scouting programme based across 1,000 schools in over 45 cities to send 17 boys (aged under 14 years) to Zuzenhausen, Germany and train at the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim academy.