Kochi: Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC) have entered into a five-year partnership agreement with Sporthood, one of India’s fastest growing networks of neighbourhood sports centres, with an aim to expand the reach of their grassroots and youth development initiative - Young Blasters.
The collaboration based on shared values and objectives is expected to strengthen the franchise's mission of nurturing football in Kerala and contribute to its growth. The key objective of the deal is to spread the KBFC style of football across the state through a standardised, scientific and procedural form of coaching to groom talented youngsters into professional footballers.
The partnership aims at combining core strengths of both entities to reach out and provide quality and systematic footballing infrastructure to a pool of young footballing talents in the 5-15 age group from across multiple districts in Kerala.
The 'KBFC Young Blasters Program', conceptualised to develop football talent through various academies and centres in Kerala, has received a good response from parents and aspiring footballers due to its commitment to high standards, according to a release from the club.
Apart from grassroots and adult football training programmes, Sporthood, a fast-growing community sports start-up, also offers virtual coaching and fitness sessions through their website and mobile application.
The Young Blasters-Sporthood academies will impart a KBFC verified performance training curriculum to kids, which will be reviewed and audited by experts at KBFC on a regular basis. In view of the current COVID-19 situation, online audio and video coaching assistance will be offered to budding footballers.
Talented youngsters from the Young Blasters – Sporthood academies will have the opportunity to be promoted to the Young Blasters District Centre of Excellence on the basis of their performance. The best performers above the age of 14 years from the Young Blasters District CoE’s will be considered for the Young Blasters High Performance Academy.
The programme also includes Induction training and certification of new coaches joining the Young Blasters–Sporthood academies.
"Through this partnership we hope to nurture a talent pool that will enrich the sport in Kerala. Hopefully the coming years will see players emerging out of this program representing the club in the ISL," said Mohammed Rafik, Director of Football, Kerala Blasters FC.
Sporthood’s co-founder Arun V Nair said: “We plan to bring in training methods and technological capabilities to complement the curriculum and content that Kerala Blasters have developed for the Young Blasters Program. Our goal is to establish as many as 100 new centres in the next 18 months as part of our expansion plan in Kerala."