March 12, 2017: Amidst a colourful and electric atmosphere, the 4th edition of Salgaocar FC’s annual Community Outreach Program came to a close at the Chicalim Panchayat Ground on Sunday, 12th March, with their Grassroots Football Festival.

After a warm welcome to the children and their parents, Ms. Swati Salgaocar, Vice President-Youth Development, addressed the gathering.  Speaking on the occasion, she said that “Salgaocar FC’s commitment to developing football at a grassroots level has remained unwavering in the uncertain football environment in India and it would not have been possible without the involvement of the local community”. She also thanked the Chicalim Panchayat for their support in making this year’s program a success.

The festival began with the children playing small sided games, in addition to participating in drills that were both entertaining and engaging.  The fathers took part in exhibition matches versus the program coaches, while a tie-breaker was held for the enthusiastic mothers.  The games concluded with a fun football match for the parents.

Since its first edition in 2013, the program has been a roaring success with the number of boys and girls increasing significantly every year.  Held over 20 Sundays between October 2016 and March 2017, this year the program saw the registration cross 600 children from in and around Vasco.

The children head to the ground, every Sunday, proudly wearing a full Salgaocar FC kit, for an afternoon of learning and excitement.  Divided into two batches of 6-8 years and 9-11 years, they are trained under the watchful eyes of highly qualified and experienced Salgaocar FC coaches and first team players between 3.15 pm to 5.15 pm.  A total of 40 licensed coaches were involved in the program this year.  Youngsters are taught the basics of football through fun drills and games while the older children learn more challenging skills & tactics for competitive play.  The most promising players from the program are absorbed into the Club’s U-13 youth team.

Recognised by the AIFF and AFC for having one of the best Youth Development Programs in the country, the Club continues to set the benchmark in Grassroots and Youth Development initiatives in India. At Salgaocar FC, encouraging and promoting young Goan talent and engaging with the community at large has always been essential to the club’s philosophy.

Medals & mementos were handed over to the volunteers and coaches of the Community Outreach Program for their   voluntary service.  Prizes were also given to the winners of the games organized at the festival.

The evening concluded with words of appreciation from the parents.

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About Ajay M.