Rush hour for Mumbai school kids

Mumbai: Ten school kids from Mumbai from different backgrounds and under the age of 12 have been picked for a training programme by USA-based club Rush Soccer through a joint initiative with a local football academy, Steadfast.

The children were chosen from a large pool through an elimination process and the idea is to select at least 30 more children through another selection programme before a few of them are sent to the USA for training-cum-academics, it was announced at a media conference today. "One child is from a municipal school, four from convent schools, two from IB schools and the rest from other schools," said Dennis Fernandes, the local football academy`s representative.

"The children were picked with the Rush representative (Elvis Goes) in attendance. We will have another selection process and our aim is to get at least 40 boys and lift them up to the standards set by them (Rush)," said Fernandes, who functions in an honorary capacity for the academy.

Goes, a former player who is connected to the Denver (Colarado)-based Rush which, he said, was the largest youth soccer club in the world, rued that while in other countries like USA and Japan, their programme acted as a feeder to the respective country`s football federation, the case was not the same in India.

"Rob Baan (All India Football Federation`s Technical Director) has said 400 boys would be picked for the four zonal academies. But there are more than a million young players in India. Several talented ones would slip through. As a former footballer who knows Indian football, I say this is not the way to go about it (finding talent)," he said.