Jamie Carragher kicks the ball for Liverpool FC Academy in India

It’s not everyday that an English Premier League player obliges fans and media in India. Well, that changed today. Jamie Carragher was in Loni, neighbouring Pune to inaugurate India’s first international residential football academy, Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians.

Jamie Carraghar football Academy IndiaEven date selection was precise. Liverpool Football Club was formed 122 years ago on 3rd June 1892. 3rd June 1892, so it’s Happy Birthday wishes for the club. The event welcomed the first batch of 64 students at the Academy under-17 and under-19 age groups after being selected through the Academy’s maiden nationwide talent scouting campaign. They will train under Liverpool FC coaches to learn and play ‘The Liverpool Way.’ Current students have finished their boards and would be turning to online education as well as regular college courses in Pune to keep up in studies while playing over the next 2-3 years. Carra let off red balloons, opened a red ribbon, stood for photo ops, and even kicked one behind the net, apart from engaging in press conferences and signing autographs for fans.

In preparation, a 3 month long nationwide scouting camp was held in six Indian cities: Goa, Aizawl, Shillong, Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune. 2500 participants underwent rigorous selection processes supervised by Liverpool FC coaches Ray Curtis and Michael Rice. Both are UEFA B qualified coaches. Training programmes begin this month.

Carra FC LiverpoolThis novel Premier League team Liverpool FC and DSK Shivajians FC partnership ushers in the 1st international club residential football Academy to India. Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians is located at the DSK International Campus and provide a boost to this football focused infrastructure development within a 20 acre development plan. Academy players will be developed by a dedicated team of UEFA qualified coaches from Liverpool FC along with other specialists from fields of strength and conditioning, sports psychology and education.

Carra Liverpool FCAimed to train and prepare budding football talent from across India, the academy offers the best facilities including a purpose-built residential complex with 840 air conditioned and fully furnished single rooms. There are 2 full-size pitches, a 4G synthetic turf and one in natural grass, an outdoor swimming pool for exclusive use along with practice areas, lecture theatre, classrooms, changing rooms, a gym, canteen, convenience store and entertainment facilities. All required medical facilities are onsite. In progression, as younger players are enrolled, two education facilities will come into being (IVY league and CBSE).

The association is a matter of the heart for frontman Shirish Kulkarni, keeping in mind his love for Liverpool. In this case it really is ‘a dream come true.’ Among DSK Group’s other businesses is its DSK Hyosung entity of which Shirish is Chairman. In the automobile front, DSK Toyota dealership is one of the automaker’s biggest here in India. A DSK Hino dealership does business in Toyota Group commercial vehicles.

In regards to academy inauguration Mr. Shirish Kulkarni, President Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians shared his joy and said, “Today I stand here feeling extremely proud to see the dream of associating with my favourite team in the world Liverpool FC and building a world class football Academy in India turn into reality. The country is now embracing the potential of this sport and today we are witnessing growing interest in terms of its acceptance and the investments being made. We hope to contribute significantly with this venture. With the world class facilities, infrastructure and supervision of coaches from Liverpool FC we are confident of nurturing the talent right here and creating a true legacy in the country.”

Ardeshir Jeejeebhoy, CEO Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians on this occasion said:”India undoubtedly has huge football potential; which is why we partnered with the Premier League club – Liverpool FC, to create a global standard Academy. The course which will be offered at the Academy is going to help fine-tune our young players’ techniques and enhance their performances on the pitch. The selected boys will be trained the same way as they are at Liverpool FC and will be given the opportunity to develop the technical, tactical, physical and social aspects of their game”.

“I was at Liverpool’s Academy for six years before I went on to playing in the first team for 17 years. I know first-hand how important it is to have the right development as a young player to fulfil your potential” said Jamie Carragher.

“The players, who will make up the U-17s and U-19s squads, will follow Liverpool’s philosophies both on and off the pitch. The kids are from all over the country and some of them have been awarded scholarships so this will be a life-changing experience for them. The Academy back in Liverpool is very close to my heart so it’s great to be here today and be part of the opening of India’s first international residential football academy” he added.

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