AboutYoung Champs

The Reliance Foundation Young Champs academy (RFYC) kicked off in May 2015 with the vision of creating not only the nation’s next generation of football stars, but also its future role models and leaders.

Supported entirely by the Reliance Foundation, RFYC is a one of a kind full time residential football academy offering all expenses paid scholarships to young talented footballers from across the country.

The academy is currently recognized by the All India Football Federation as the country's only 5 star residential academy under their 'Academy Accreditation Programme' making RFYC officially the best residential academy in the country (season 2018-19). The academy are also current champions of the AIFF Hero Sub Junior Youth League (2018-19).

Based in Navi Mumbai, the academy currently hosts 65 children from around the country playing across five age groups ( U13, U14, U15 & U17) with 22 full time staff dedicated to their development.

Meet Our Mentors


  • 37 Years

Former Indian international, Arata Izumi had an illustrious playing career spanning over a decade across Singapore, Japan and India. The Japanese born midfielder moved into coaching after his retirement and holds an AFC A License. He has been working with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2018.

ADITYA NIGAM(Sports Physiotherapist)

  • 30 Years

Aditya Nigam joined the Reliance Foundation Young Champs in 2016 as a Physiotherapist. He holds a Masters of Physiotherapy (Sports Medicine) from I.T.S Institute of Health & Allied Sciences


  • Spanish
  • 29 Years

With coaching experience of working with youth footballers across Spain, England and India, Bhavin Pamnani has been working with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2017. Completing his formal education with a BSc Economics from Loughbourough University, Bhavin holds an AFC B License as well as an FA Level 2.

DON ARNOLD(Team Manager / Coach U12)

  • 27 Years

Don Arnold Danthi joined the Reliance Foundation Young Champs in 2017 and works as a Team Manager as well as a Coach. Arnold Holds an AFC C license.

Durva Vahia(Lead Sports Scientist)

  • Indian
  • 28 Years

Former Footballer Durva Vahia holds an MSc. In Sports and Health Science from the University of Exeter, an AFC B license and an AFC GK Level 1. She has experience of serving as the Assistant Coach for the U-17 women’s national team as well as a stint at Exeter City FC as a sports Scientist.

Durga Menon(Assistant Sport and Performance Psychologist)

  • Indian
  • 26 Years

Sports Psychologist, Durga Menon holds a B.A (Honours) Psychology, from Christ University (Bengaluru) and MSc. Psychology, Montfort College (Bengaluru). She Joined the Reliance Foundation Young Champs in 2019.


  • 44 Years

Gumpe Rime, our Head Goalkeeper Coach was a former professional goalkeeper who had a career spanning over two decades. Gumpe represented clubs such as the erstwhile Mahindra United, Vasco, Salgaocar and Shillong Lajong to name a few. He holds an AFC A and an AFC GK Level 3 License. He's also a certified Coach Educator holding an AFC C & AFC GK Level-1 educator's license. Having previously coached at the Tata Football Academy and Shillong Lajong FC, Gumpe has been with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2017.


  • 28 Years

Goalkeeper Coach and Team Manager Jignesh Antala, joined the Reliance Foundation Young Champs in 2015. He holds and AFC C license as well as an AFC Goalkeeper Level 1.


  • 43 Years

Jose Barreto is a decorated former professional football player with over 200 appearances for Indian top division clubs Mohun Bagan and the erstwhile Mahindra United Football Club during his footballing career. A graduate of Brazilian club Gremio’s academy, Barreto played professionally in Japan, Malaysia and India. Post his retirement in 2014, Barreto was appointed as the Assistant Coach of Hero Indian Super League franchise Atlético de Kolkata. Jose holds an AFC B License. Jose has been working with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2015.

Marcus Vaessen(Technical Advisor)

  • Dutch
  • 42 Years

Nitesh Patel(Sports Physiotherapist)

  • 28 Years

Physiotherapist Nitesh Patel holds a Masters in Physiotherapy (Sports) MYAS GNDU. He has been with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2018.

Padma Rewari(Head Counsellor and Mentor/Child Welfare Officer)

  • 48 Years

Our head Counsellor and Mentor/Child Welfare Officer holds a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the Tata Insitute of Social Sciences. She comes with over 25 years of field experience as a counsellor and psychotherapist working exclusively with child related projects. She has been with the academy since its inception in 2015.

Parth Parasher(Lead Sport and Performance Psychologist)

  • 32 Years

Our Lead Sport and Performance Psychologist, Part Parasher holds an MSc. In Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Loughborough University, UK as well as an MSc in Psychological Science from the University of Glasgow, UK. Having previously worked as a Sports Psychologist at Leicester City FC academy, Parth Joined RFYC in 2018.

RAJESH CHAVAN(Lead Physiotherapist)

  • 33 Years

Rajesh Chavan is the Lead Physiotherapist at Reliance Foundation Young Champs and holds a Bachelor of Physiotherapy (B.P.Th) and is a Certified – Heart saver CPR & BLS. 


  • 29 Years

Saksham Kakkar holds an AFC A License and has an MSc in Sports Coaching from the University of Worcester. He has been with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2016 and also has an FA Level 2 certification.

Sameer Shaikh(Coach)

  • Indian
  • 45 Years

Holding an AFC A License, and an AIFF D and E instructor's license, Sameer Shaikh has previously had stints with the Liverpool-DSK Shivajians Academy and the Chennaiyin FC Reserve Team in the Hero Indian Super League. He has been working with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2019.

SANDRO SALAMI(Head of Youth)

  • 30 Years

Sandro Salami is the Head of Youth at the Reliance Foundation Young Champs. With over 10 years of coaching experience at several professional clubs in the Netherlands, he holds a UEFA B license. He recently worked as a youth coach at Dutch clubs NEC and PSV Eindhoven before joining RFYC in 2018


  • 36 Years

Santosh Gowda is the man entrusted with ensuring that our cadets have high quality surfaces to train and play on all through the year. Working with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2017, Santosh holds a PG Diploma in Turf science and Turf Management

Shruti Ravi Iyer(Sports Physiotherapist)

  • Indian
  • 25 Years

Shruti Ravi Iyer has been working with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2019 as a Physiotherapist. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy (B.P.Th)

STEPHEN CHARLES(Coach | Head of Scouting)

  • 28 Years

Stephen Charles has been working with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs since 2018. Holding AFC B License, Stephen acts as our Head of Scouting apart from his coaching duties. He has previously worked for two years in the Hero Indian Super League with FC Pune City.