BDFA Super Division League 2020-21 champions FC Bengaluru United have appointed C. John Kenneth Raj as Technical Head of the United Pro School & Academy. With 19 years of experience in football coaching, Kenneth Raj is among India’s most qualified Youth Coaches.
Kenneth Raj holds the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) ‘A’ License, has completed the FIFA Youth Coaching course, as well as course in Physical Education from the University of Cambridge. He was the Assistant Coach for the India U-16 and U-15 teams between 2012-2014. Under his tenure, the U-16 National team emerged victorious in the 2nd SAFF U-16 Championship 2013 in Nepal. He was also an Assistant Coach for the U-16 National Team during the AFC Qualifying rounds, held in Kuwait.
He has coached the U-16 U Dream Football Academy, which was affiliated to Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim. Before moving to Germany, Kenneth Raj, who is an AIFF C License Coaching Instructor, also scouted for the AIFF across various age groups.
Commenting on his appointment as Technical Head of the United Pro School & Academy, Kenneth Raj said he is excited about the ‘new challenge’. “FC Bengaluru United are committed to growing football from the grassroots level and this really resonates with me. The club ideology and philosophy, as well as their long-term plan reflect a deep understanding of what it takes to grow the sport at every level. Equal emphasis is given to the Academy and First teams. I am really looking forward to this journey.”
In his new role, Kenneth Raj said his focus will be on “discovering and highlighting local talent and ensuring they receive structured coaching” in order to define a proper growth development pathway. He is also keen to establish a “formal coaching education system for our coaches to help them take their experience and skill to the next level”. In terms of Academy expansion plans, Kenneth Raj said the goal would be to expand to other cities in Karnataka before looking at a pan-India footprint.
Commenting on the new appointment, Gaurav Manchanda, founder, Nimida Sports, who own FC Bengaluru United, said, “We are delighted to welcome John Kenneth Raj to the Bengaluru United family. He brings with him a wealth of experience, a keen eye for talent and a nuanced expertise in grassroots coaching. At Bengaluru United, it is our goal to contribute towards the development of the overall game of football and we are confident that with John as part of our team, we have further strengthened our commitment to creating a truly holistic player development system.”