Bend it like Liverpool

UK club gives India its first global residential football academy

Bend it like Liverpool
WHETHER they eventually bend it like Beckham or lift it like Gerrard, talented young soccer players from across the country will get to hone their skills under the tutelage of none other than the Liverpool Football Club. For finally, nearly a year after they announced it with much fanfare, DSK group, with business interests in automobile and realty, has kicked off its football academy in Pune in collaboration with the legendary football club.

“Our aim is to produce a world class talent pool to compete with the best teams on the international turf,” said Shirish Kulkarni, president of Liverpool FC International Football Academy-DSK Shivajians, at the launch.Nearly Rs 350 crore will be invested towards this, he said .

The first batch for the coaching programme consists of 64 best players selected from across India in the under-17 and under-19 age groups. “The boys are on the campus already after going through rigorous selection processes under the supervision of Liverpool FC coaches Ray Curtis and Michael Rice,” Kulkarni said. Officially, the two-three year programme will kick off from June 21, he said.

“About 10 best footballers from the two batches will then be sent to Liverpool Academy in UK for a week’s training and international exposure,” Kulkarni said. The course will cost Rs 4.5 lakh for the under-19 age group and Rs 3.5 lakh for the under-17, he said.

“About 34 students have been selected on merit from both the batches to avail scholarship,” Kulkarni added.

These 64 boys were picked up after a three-month long nationwide scouting camps held in six cities such as Aizawl, Shillong, Goa, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. They will be trained by two full time qualified coaches from Liverpool FC, along with two Indian coaches and other specialists, he said.

“These are XII-pass students, who will undergo all round coaching at the 20-acre sports complex located at DSK International Campus at Loni, on the outskirts of Pune,” Kulkarni said.

The campus features two full size pitches, one 4G synthetic turf and one natural grass, and an outdoor swimming pool along with practice areas, lecture hall, classrooms, changing rooms, a gym, canteen, convenience store and entertainment facilities.

“This academy is built to international standards and the boys will be trained the same way as they are at Liverpool FC,” Ray Curtis, coach from Liverpool Academy, UK, said.

He said the U-17 and U-19 squads will follow Liverpool’s philosophies both on and off the pitch to be able to qualify for international matches.

michaelgonsalves

@mydigitalfc.com

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