If more than 400 kids in Mumbai and their parents were waking up early every Saturday morning in the last few months, it was not to have leisurely breakfast and lie in front of the TV. It was not even for cricket. It was to play competitive soccer on one of the most beautiful grounds in the city – the Western Railways Association Ground.
The Junior Football Championship by Soccer Connections, Mumbai’s premier professionally run football league for kids, has forever changed the children’s sports scene in the city. Singer Shaan calls the event “the most refreshing way to start a weekend with the family.”
More than an opportunity for the kids to play competitively, improve their soccer skills and build new ones, the JFC has become a meeting point for like-minded families who believe in an active lifestyle. The professionalism and enthusiasm of the coaches, gourmet catering for healthy (and not so healthy) breakfast / brunch and streaming music, makes it the perfect day out for the family.
Four pitches with kids aged 5 – 12 are segregated into age wise batches. Younger kids (2 to 5 years old) enjoy a special program called Soccer Tots, where they learn the basics of the game, hand-eye coordination, and to be part of a team, in a fun, non-pressure environment.
Soccer Connections also provides specialised coaching by a carefully selected team of Indian and International coaches from Italy, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Serbia etc. The Indian contingent consists of professional players and highly qualified coaches. Batch sizes are small and there are a minimum of two coaches for 12 children to ensure maximum personal attention.
Soccer Tots, another unique and niche programme for toddlers between the age of 2.5yrs and 4yrs has been created by Soccer Connections after extensive research and internal training, adapting basic soccer training for our smallest fans and ensuring they get the maximum benefit of fun learning games and improve their agility. The props are colour and number coordinated for better learning.
The Soccer Connections concept has expanded into cities like Pune, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. The company also has an a great community programme where they are trying to give back to society by training the Hosiarpur Village in Punjab. They have also worked with the Wockhardt Foundation of “Khel Khel Mein” and Akansha Foundation. The company also organises overseas soccer camps for kids where they can experience the very grounds and skills of their international idols (coming up is a camp at the Bobby Carlton Academy in Manchester).
In the making is Campville, a reformed, clean, 5-star version of a good old fashioned camping ground where children indulge in outdoor activities all day long.