Field Watch

Video: Here’s a look at seven of Mumbai’s best football academies

If you are inspired by the U-17 World Cup and the upcoming ISL season and want to take your game to the next level, here are a few academies you can turn to.

The recently concluded Fifa Under-17 World Cup created quite an impact on India’s footballing landscape. It saw an Indian team play at a Fifa World Cup for the first ever time. It saw record crowds for a world cup of this age group. It got everyone talking. And despite India’s (expected) departure after three games, it sustained interest of the football-loving fans in our country.

With the Indian Super League around the corner, with the senior Indian football team enjoying it’s best run in years, it’s easy to see that interest in football in the country is at an all-time high.

The talk is also about how to get kids get interested in the game when they are young.

The Field, in association with Khelomore – a digital platform that brings together coaching academies – visited seven of the best ones in Mumbai. We asked the various academies about their facilities, what makes each of them unique and how the football landscape in changing in India.

Joga Bonito Football Academy

Farhad Dhunjisha is the co-founder and Coach of Joga Bonito School of Football. It’s simple, really. They stand for what the term defines - play beautiful. Run in Dadar Parsee Gymkhana in Dadar, the academy trains kids between 3-14 years.

Term: 1 month
Gender: Both
Ages: Under 10 and Under 14
Location: Dadar Parsee Colony Gymkhana
Price: 3000 per month

For booking: https://www.khelomore.com/sports-academies/joga-bonito

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India Rush Soccer Club

The Indian partner of Rush Soccer USA - India Rush Soccer. It is one of the world’s largest youth soccer clubs. Originally started in Denver, it came to India in the year 2012 and has multiple centers across the country.

Term: 1 month
Gender: Both
Ages: 5 to 19
Location: St. Andrew’s Turf, Bandra West
Price: 2500 onwards

For booking: https://www.khelomore.com/landing/indiarushsoccerclub

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Arsenal Soccer School

Inspired by the North London-based Premier League club, Arsenal Soccer Schools have been running since 1985 and residential programmes since 1991. The training programme is being executed in over 20 centres in 9 cities across India training nearly 1000 students through the Arsenal Soccer Schools’ curriculum and methodology

Term: Quarterly (3 months)
Gender: Both
Ages: Above 5
Location: Multiple centers across Mumbai
Price: Rs. 9000 - Rs. 14000 per Quarter

For booking: https://www.khelomore.com/landing/arsenalsoccerschool

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Bhaichung Bhutia Football Academy

An initiative by India’s former football captain - Bhaichung Bhutia. BBFS offers football coaching through 24 training centers across the country in 10 cities.

Term: 3 months
Gender: Both
Ages: 5 to 17
Location: Multiple centers across Mumbai
Price: 4500 onwards

For booking: https://www.khelomore.com/landing/bhaichungbhutiafootballschools

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Western India United Academy

Alphonso Santiago (formerly Head Coach and Manager for Churchill Brothers & he also coached the Maharashtra Football Team at at various levels including the seniors for 15 years) started this academy in the year 2008. With state of the art facilities and training equipment, this academy adds a professional touch to training.

Term: 3 months
Gender: Both
Ages: 3 to 16
Location: Thakur village, Kandivali East
Price: 2500 - 3000

For booking: https://www.khelomore.com/sports-academies/western-india-united-academy

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FCB Escola

One of dozens from the Official Football Schools of FC Barcelona, Escola offers top quality training to select upcoming footballers. It’s the same kind of academy that produced top players like Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta.

Term: Quarterly (3 months)
Gender: Both
Ages: 5 to 17
Location: Andheri East
Price: Rs. 12000 - Rs.15000 per quarter

For booking: https://www.khelomore.com/landing/fcbescola

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Football Club Mumbaikars

With an ideology to train players the right way at an early age, Football Club of Mumbaikars empower youth to discover their potential and promote values to encourage living an ethical life, more than just learning the beautiful game.

Term: 1 month or 3 months
Gender: Boys
Ages: Under 8 and Under 12
Location: Hiranandani Gardens, Powai
Price: Rs 2500 onwards

For booking: https://www.khelomore.com/landing/footballclubofmumbaikars

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.