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India U-17 defender Ajin Tom: I found freedom in football!

For Ajin Tom, football is freedom and ever since the lanky midfielder found love in a ball in the fifth standard, life has never been the same.

“I started playing football when I was young and it was as if I had found freedom”, Ajin says. But freedom from what exactly? What possibly could freedom mean to a kid? “Freedom in expressing myself. The way I work the ball is an indication of how I am and that in itself is freedom”. After a little while, Ajin adds with a sly smile, “It also gave me freedom from studies”

“I was good in my studies, but I used to wait for the clock to strike 4 (pm) and run down to play football with my friends. That was the whole highlight of my day”

It were the streets that injected the passion of playing football in Ajin Tom. “Street was where I first kicked a football and we played with a makeshift goal post. It wasn’t much but looking back at that moment, it was everything”. Gradually Ajin joined a local academy named ‘Sept’ and with the academy got his hands on his first ever trophy.

Hailing from a middle class family, Ajin could hopes of becoming an engineer or a doctor, but it was Ajin’s parents who sensed their son’s passion and boosted his spirits with support for football.

“My parents were supportive of me playing football as they were not allowed to indulge into sports when they were young. They want the best for me, they want me to enjoy whatever I do”

Which parent does not? Hence Ajin has one goal only. “To make my parents proud by playing in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup India and showing to them that their support was not unbased”

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