Salgaocar Football Club yesterday organised a Grassroots Football festival at the Chicalim Panchayat Ground to celebrate AFC Grassroots Football Day. For children, playing a sport is important – not just because of the physical, or social benefits, but because of the fun they have. Grassroots football plays an important role in trying to keep that spark alive in children while doing so. The event began at 9 AMas the children indulged in juggling, dribbling, & small-sided games, in the celebratory atmosphere.
Lauded by the AIFF and AFC for their efforts, the Club has continued to set the benchmark in Grassroots and Youth Development initiatives by organising their annual Community Outreach Programme for the third consecutive year. Before the start of the programme, Salgaocar FC had organised football camps at various schools in the vicinity along with their senior coaches and star footballers. This year has seen enrolment rise to over 650 children from in and around Vasco, where Salgaocar FC is headquartered. The programme begun in the month of October 2015 is conducted every Sunday where the basics of the ‘beautiful game’ are imparted to these budding footballers using techniques that are both fun and engrossing. This is done to enable the youngsters play competitive football.
At Salgaocar FC, Youth Development and involvement of the local community has always been intrinsic to the Club’s philosophy. This year, the programme comprised 20 sessions from October to March which saw girls and boys between the ages of 6-11 give up distractions like TV and video games and brave the hot sun to ensure they never miss out on a single football-centric Sunday. Coaching is of the highest standard as the children have a chance to train under the Club’s senior coaches. Players from the senior and U-19 teams also coach in rotation, so that the young ones are able to interact with their heroes. Children from the programme have also had the opportunity to act as escorts for all the Club’s home I –League matches held at Tilak Maidan over the course of the season. In addition, they have the opportunity to experience what it is like to play on the Club’s home turf as they participate in small sided games at half time.
Given the commitment of Salgaocar FC to Grassroots and Youth Development initiatives, it’s obvious why the Club has seen so many of their Youth Development products rise through the ranks to make it to the Senior team. If the smiles on the faces of children and parents alike are anything to go by, the future of budding Goan footballers looks very bright indeed.