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The third edition of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs Club Scouting Festival - to identify top footballing talent across the country between the ages 11 and 14 - received a tremendous reception in the Hero ISL’s eight franchise cities earlier this month. The festival tested key aspects of an individual’s game, like their technical ability, positional discipline and physical endurance.
As many as 80 budding talents have been shortlisted to take part in the RFYC Final Selection Camp, scheduled to be held from May 2-8 in Navi Mumbai. Of these 80, the southern outfits - 2015 champions Chennaiyin FC and two-time finalists Kerala Blasters FC - account for 26 young hopefuls after 13 children each were chosen from their respective Club Scouting Festivals.
Two-time Hero ISL champions Atlético de Kolkata will be represented by 12 youngsters, while their eastern rivals NorthEast United FC will have 11 prospects flying out to Navi Mumbai for the final selection camp.
Mumbai City FC, who have won ISL’s best grassroots programme for the past two years, will have 10 representatives, while their Maharashtra rivals FC Pune City will send five candidates to the camp.
The capital city of Delhi contributes nine young talents, while 2015 finalists FC Goa constitute the remaining seven.
It is also worth noting that 60 children out of 80 are born in 2005, and that means they are 12 years of age, while the remaining 20 are born in 2006, making them 11 years old: the right age for overall development, including their game and education.
Piet Hubers, technical director of the grassroots development programme for the ISL and Mark Vaessen, head coach of RFYC in discussion with local coaches from the ISL clubs’ grassroots programmes picked these 80 lucky youngsters from over 480 participants across eight cities.
Here’s a comprehensive LIST of all 80 youngsters who will join the camp in Navi Mumbai and undergo theory as well as practical training sessions in a bid to be a part of the Reliance Foundation Young Champs programme, which is presently facilitating the development of 41 gifted talents spotted over the last two years.