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RF Young Champs Conclude Selection for 2021/22

Jan 25, 2022

Reliance Foundation Young Champs has concluded its final selection camp for the incoming batch of U-13 players for the 2021/22 season.

The seven-day camp came after a year–long search across the country under trying circumstances. With traditional modes of scouting severely hampered, the academy tied up with UK based Artificial Intelligence platform AiSCOUT to help complete scouting.

RFYC’s vast network of scouts had already evaluated and shortlisted players from major regions, and the addition of AiSCOUT helped to access areas that were rendered impossible to reach due to lockdown. The platform allowed players (born between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009) to upload videos of themselves performing football-specific drills designed by the coaching staff to gauge players’ skill, control, and overall footballing ability.

The drive was a huge success, with thousands of entries coming in from even the farthest corners of India.

Combining the results of online and offline scouting, the coaches at the academy found the best 60 U-13 players from across India. These players were then invited back to Mumbai for a final selection camp, where they spent the week training under top coaches and displaying their own skills.

The Academy undertook all safety precautions, ensure that the selection process was carried out in a safe environment for all. “The safety and security of all children is at the top of our agenda. Keeping that in mind, we set up a bio-bubble and carried out thorough tests on all players before they arrived in Mumbai, and every day of the camp as well. All players and staff were placed in a secure bio-bubble to eliminate contact with the outside environment and keep everyone safe.” said Steve Charles, Head of Scouting at RFYC.

The sessions were divided into two halves per day, with players spending the morning sessions learning various aspects of elite play from the coaches, and applying those learnings to in-game situations in the afternoon sessions.

Sandro Salami, Head of Youth at RFYC said, “The technical level of these players is really exciting to see. We had a really tough time finding the very best talent in this already highly skilled group of players.”

Eventually, though, the best 16 players were selected and offered scholarship contracts, and earned the right to call themselves Young Champs!

The entire process and the final selection camp was a success. “Scouting for talent is never an easy task. This year, it was even tougher, given the COVID situation across the country. But, we are very pleased to have all found a way to conduct our scouting process safely and thoroughly, and look forward to working with all these young players and developing them into future professional players!” said Mark Vaessen, Technical Advisor at RFYC.

The new players will join the Academy in the coming weeks.

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