Kolkata, January 14: Looking at the significance of football and the popularity it is gaining in the North East India, Tata Trusts in association with U Dream Football has dedicated its energies to amplifying the tremendous talent in the region. As part of this initiative the first batch of 35 kids will receive full-time training in Germany (Europe) for six years, allowing them to advance as professional footballers. In the process, the programme intends to bring about opportunities for marginalised young children through an integrated learning programme while addressing their educational and skills requirements.

On this occasion, Mr. Supratik Sen, CEO, U Sports, said: “The programme will be called Tata Trusts U Dream Football. U Dream Football, together with Tata Trusts, will work towards scaling-up grassroots football development in the country. We will be sending 35 kids this year and will aim to have 150 - 200 kids placed in Europe and another 600 at the Tata Trusts – U Dream Football Centres of Excellence in India.”

The program aims to identify and nurture the innate talents of young children in the nation, beginning with our flagship of setting up nearly 100 grassroots football academies across Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam and Nagaland for imparting professional training to children in the age group of 8 - 14 years.

Emphasising on the significance of the programme, Mr. Biswanath Sinha, Associate Director, Tata Trusts, said, “It is a well-known fact that, in comparison to academics, sports often takes the backseat. With the overwhelming talent in this region, we hope that the right mix of academic and sports training will nurture children with excellence and help them scale new heights in the field of football and other sports. This will not only make communities recognise sports as a means to diversified livelihoods, but understand its significance as a catalyst for sustainable development.”

“Tata Trusts U Dream Football programme is one-of-a-kind skill enhancement programme that offers talented young children a unique opportunity to pursue a career in football and gain recognition not only at home, but also on global platforms. We aim to make it a self-sustaining programme in the long run and help our country become one of the leading football playing countries in Asia,” he further added.

The ecosystem that Tata Trusts and U Dream Football intends to create – for trained players at its Centres of Excellence and through long-term training in Europe, will allow football players an opportunity to viable career options, creating a future where Indian football could feature on the global map. These 35 children represent the aspirations of a generation and hold within this experience the possibility of Global recognition, employment and National pride.