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India Khelo Football conducts biggest grassroots level trials in India

Sports Lounge Staff



IKF Logo

New Delhi:  India Khelo Football (IKF), a non-profit organization that aims to connect Indian football grassroots talent with the professional football ecosystem, successfully concluded its Season 2 National Finals. The event witnessed the participation of over 5000 kids from 40 cities and villages across India, making it the biggest football trials in the country.

IKF’s mission is to democratize talent identification and subsequent selections at the grassroots level, making it a mega placement drive for aspiring football players. It is a people-led movement curated by enthusiasts, trying to unleash the Indian football potential by providing the only platform in India where multiple ISL clubs, I-leagues, and international scouts come under one roof to recruit the filtered football talent.

For Season 2, IKF selected 120 kids with exceptional talent performing in front of 10+ ISL, I-League, and international scouts. The scouts included ProSoccerGlobal, Sportsmate 360, Mumbai City FC, Goa FC, Kerala Blasters, Minerva, Sudeva, Delhi FC, Techtro Swades, Roundglass Punjab, Gokulam Kerala, Alpha Sports Academy, Mata Rani FC, Jamshedpur FC, and Himachal FC. The national finals, held on 18th February 2023, welcomed boys and girls (u-15 and u-17) from all kinds of backgrounds, cast, creed, and color, bonded on the field for the love of football. The results of selected kids will be announced within the next 3 weeks. Footwear Design and Development Institute became the category sponsor with Viva Football, Anant Computing, and My First Kick. The National Finals held a ProSoccer Global workshop where kids enrolled to get a wild-card entry into the Pre-Finals.

IKF’s scouting process goes through multiple phases with a repository of data on player analytics devised with up to 25 attributes, that can be easily accessed by scouts and players. Their seamless process of scouting ensures that the best players are identified and given an equal opportunity to showcase their talent.

Celebrating the success of the biggest football trials in India, Hitesh Joshi and Phani Bhushan, Founding Members of India Khelo Football said,”We are extremely excited for Season 3 of India Khelo Football Trials, after a spectacular response of Season2. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our Regional Execution Partners, the entire IKF team, the dedicated volunteers, our sponsors, and most importantly, the talented kids and supportive football communities across India. It is your trust and commitment towards our vision of creating a democratized platform for aspiring football players that provides them with national and international exposure, that keeps us motivated to push the boundaries of what is possible. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for Indian football, and we are honored to be a part of this incredible journey.”

Excited to witness the raw talent and scout exceptional kids, Jimmy Hayes and Chris McGrath, Co-Founders of ProSoccer Global said,”We are incredibly impressed with the exceptional talent we witnessed at the India Khelo Football Trials. The initiative has done an outstanding job of filtering and identifying talented players from across the country. We are grateful for the opportunity to come to India and witness the incredible pool of footballing talent that exists here. The kids we met during the trials have shown exceptional skill and dedication to the game, and we believe that with the right training and guidance, they have the potential to reach the professional football ecosystem. India being a country with a large football fan base, we believe that this initiative will help raise the bar and bring Indian football to the international stage. We would like to commend India Khelo Football for their efforts in providing a platform for aspiring football players and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

Adding to the excitement, Arun Kumar Sinha, IAS, Managing Director at FDDI said, “We at FDDI are delighted to be associated with India Khelo Football, a non-profit organization that is tirelessly working towards leveling the playing field and promoting football at the grassroots level in India. We applaud their efforts to bring exposure to the budding talents in the country and provide them with a platform to showcase their skills. We wish them all the best for the next season and are proud to be the category sponsor for this noble cause. It’s heartening to see such initiatives being taken up by passionate individuals who are driven by the love for the game and the desire to make a difference in the lives of young athletes. We believe that it’s essential for the government and other corporations to support and encourage such initiatives that have the potential to change the sports landscape in India. Together, let’s work towards nurturing and empowering the next generation of footballers in our country.”

In 2021, in spite of the Covid pandemic, IKF Season 1 took place in 17 cities and towns across India and unearthed some excellent football talent, from Ladakh to Trivandrum, and from Imphal to Ahmedabad. It was followed by the National Final where kids selected from 17 cities were present with Scouts from ISL Clubs, I League Clubs, and International academies. Over 20+ selections were made by Indian Clubs, and IKF also selected the 7 best young footballers who will go to Spain for club trials, free of cost.

The Season 2 National Finals began with a curtain raiser for the upcoming season with a 15 minute match played by u-10 age group girls as a message of inclusivity in and for the game while inculcating the spirit of sportsmanship and the game in our daily lives.

With the successful completion of IKF Season 2 National Finals, IKF aims to create a pipeline of untapped talent, bringing India to the international football stage.

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