PREMIER LEAGUE youth plays with ISL youth in an unprecedented tournament

Rishav Roy  |  Indian Super League  |  2 Weeks Ago

Indian Super League was in a reticent partnership with Premier League since 2014. Towards the end of February 2019, ISL approached Premier League to focus on youth development, taking a cue from the imminent programmes which were to be run by PL.


The friendly encounters between Reliance Foundation Young Champs and Junior Mumbai City FC crossing swords with the academy teams of Leicester and Arsenal were the first of Premier League-Indian Super League collaboration supported youth games which were organized in the Premier League Football Development Week from 3rd to 6th March. The encounters took place at Corporate Park, Navi Mumbai football arena.


The Premier League football development week is focused on the theme of youth player development and sees representatives from Premier League, Arsenal FC and Leicester City FC conducting workshops, club-to-club training, referee development and according to Richard Garlick, the Director of Football of Premier League, the representatives introduce a much more holistic approach of football which even includes the emotional and physical aspects of the game.


Both Arsenal and Leicester City featured Under-14 teams while Mumbai City FC and RFYC academy teams were under-15. The showpiece event saw 40 youth players from the Academies of Arsenal and Leicester playing against Indian youngsters.

In the opening match, Leicester City youth team was held to a goalless draw by the Junior Islanders. At the stroke of half-time, Mumbai city youth goalkeeper, Sahil Rathod even denied a penalty to keep the scores level.


The second match of the night was between the renowned Arsenal U-14 academy and U-15 Academy of Reliance Foundation Young Champs. Goals from Baylin Johnson and Ismael Kabia sent the Gunners up in the first half but Mushtaque Ahmed and Alex Konthoujam spearheaded a remarkable comeback to fire RFYC into a 3-2 victory.


Among the spectators was English striker, Les Ferdinand who scored 149 goals in 351 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League. Ferdinand advised certain techniques and skills to the Indian coaches and youth players. Richard Garlick also promised that the youth games will be held on an annual basis from now on.


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