STAIRS Schools Football League (SSFL) concluded its final phase of Grassroots Training Camps for Under-14 and Under-17 girls and boys across Delhi. The training camps were conducted across various locations across four zones of Delhi.
The players chosen for training were spotted at 33 grassroots spotting camps which saw a 3,000 footballers turning up for trials. The camps were conducted by Delhi Soccer Association (DSA) with support from the Society for Transformation, Inclusion and Recognition through Sports (STAIRS).
DSA coaches spotted 477 footballers from over 3,000 players who participated at grassroots camps and trained them for a considerable period. The final screening was done after training and skill building exercises and best performers (273 players) were chosen to be a part of STAIRS’ teams for each zone. These selected teams – one team each of Under 14 Boys and Girls as well as Under 17 Boys and Girls – get a wildcard entry to SSFL and they compete with some of the best teams in the respective age categories from over 300 schools of Delhi.
SSFL’s grassroots spotting and training camps that begin about a quarter before the beginning of the SSFL league matches has become one of the most sought after event for the budding footballers at the grassroots.
“Each season of Grassroots Camps has been different for better. The participations numbers have been increasing and the enthusiasm among young players is motivating, encouraging and promising. Overall, our efforts of last three years are showing results as the football culture that we all have wanted to create is now visible at the grassroots.
“This year, the camps not only saw the higher turnaround or participation, but also a significant improvement in their skills. Some of the players who have graduated from under-14 category to under-17 this year put up a great show during the trials. Some of the young children amazed us with the improvement in their paying skills as well as the attitude. Interestingly, the parents too have started to understand the significance of letting their children explore their potential, hence are supporting our efforts – the first step towards building a sporting nation.
“We are grateful to political leadership, especially the Members of Parliament Meenakshi Lekhi, Dr Udit Raj and Maheish Girri who had engaged some of their field workers to ensure that communication about camps reaches most people and deserving children do not miss out on the opportunity.
“We are also thankful to Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, for believing in our initiatives and sharing grounds that facilitated additional camps this year and helping us meet the objective of reaching out to as many footballers as we can,” said Siddhartha Upadhyay, founder & secretary general, STAIRS Foundation.
Cited as one of the world’s largest talent scouting and training programme for football, SSFL has become one of the most significant platforms for football fraternity seeking to acquire talent at an early age. While many officials and individuals from professional bodies keep their eyes on the budding players during the matches, selectors from international foreign clubs watch ‘live streaming’ of important matches and even call for recorded videos to see performance of promising players.