FC Madras has recently announced the opening of its state-of-the-art residential football academy in Mahabalipuram. The academy is built to FIFA standards specified by the AIFF and AFC, with a 23-acre integrated campus that offers top-notch infrastructure for football training and education.
The academy has the capacity to house 130 gifted young footballers who are selected through a rigorous nationwide scouting program and offered scholarships as well. The Chennai-based club has a unique vision to combine top-notch football infrastructure and methodology with education and life skills training. With a focus on long-term talent development, the academy aims to produce players who will represent India at the international level.
FC Madras has scouted an impressive 2416 players from India, with a notable 20% hailing from Tamil Nadu itself. The team then shortlisted the top 100 players for a seven-day camp in Chennai, culminating in the selection of the first 50 players to become scholarship holders at the prestigious FC Madras Academy.
According to Girish Mathrubootham, the founder of FC Madras, the academy’s goal is to discover the next Messi from Madras. “Our country has amazing young sporting talent that deserves success, but needs the infrastructure, environment, and opportunity to unlock their true potential,” he said. Mathrubootham also believes that the new FC Madras campus will inspire other leaders and businesses to create similar academies, as India’s future champions need more world-class football infrastructure.
In addition to football amenities, the academy features a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center, medical and recovery facilities, an international-standard indoor futsal pitch, a six-lane swimming pool, a modern residential hostel with kitchen and dining facilities, and an alternate learning center that follows the NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) curriculum.
The FC Madras academy is a true haven for young footballers, providing a range of world-class facilities designed to foster their growth and development. The Drey Hall, where all residential students are housed, features well-ventilated twin and triple sharing accommodations, ensuring that each student has ample space to live and learn. Two additional dormitories are also available, accommodating up to 20 players from visiting teams.
The academy’s state-of-the-art floodlit football pitches are nothing short of impressive, with East Asia’s first Hybrid Pitch among them. The main pitch, which can hold up to 500 spectators, is also broadcast-friendly, making it ideal for matches and tournaments. In addition to the main pitch, there is also a mega-sized natural-grass field that can accommodate multiple training sessions, as well as an artificial turf for players to get comfortable playing on synthetic pitches.
The changing rooms are also top-notch, with four separate facilities available for players, complete with bathrooms, showers, and lockers. Separate facilities are also available for referees, ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need. The academy’s indoor training facility, known as the Squirrel’s Den, is a massive 15,000 square foot multi-sport air-conditioned arena, featuring Futsal, Tennis, Badminton, and Basketball sports. Saloon and laundry facilities are also available, making it easy for students to stay on top of their grooming and cleanliness.
One of the academy’s standout features is its six-lane indoor swimming pool, which is half-Olympic sized and adjoined with hot and cool plunge pools. In addition to focusing on the physical development of students, the academy places a strong emphasis on their mental well-being, providing resources and support for sports nutrition, media interaction, and anti-doping awareness.
To establish itself as India’s first “smart football academy”, FC Madras will integrate advanced sports technology such as data analytics, video analysis, sports science, and performance-based sports nutrition into global football academy practices. Their Video Lab Room uses AI technology to track the players and discuss game plans virtually. The academy’s Director of Sports and Governance, DJ, will oversee this initiative. DJ is a highly experienced sports professional from Chennai with over 18 years of experience in data-driven decision-making in sports and managing high-performance athletes.
FC Madras has assembled an impressive team of experienced professionals to lead their academy towards success. Abhishek Yadav, former Deputy General Secretary of the AIFF and the former Captain of the Indian National Football Team, has been appointed as the CEO of FC Madras. Meanwhile, Venkatesh Shanmugan, a former Captain of the Indian national football team, former Assistant Coach of the Indian National Football team, will be taking on the role of Technical Director of Football, following his current stint with East Bengal FC. In addition, Dr. CN Narayana has been named as the Director of Education & Life Skills, ensuring that the academy will focus not only on football development, but also on the holistic growth of its young athletes.
FC Madras is not only focused on providing top-notch football training, but also on building sustainability and community engagement. They have plans to introduce various programs, including summer camps, weekend programs, corporate events, and membership programs, to encourage participation from the community.
FC Madras is taking a giant stride in advancing the Indian football landscape with the inauguration of its state-of-the-art residential football academy in Mahabalipuram. By providing a platform for young, talented footballers to reach their full potential, the academy is set to become a beacon of hope for aspiring footballers across the nation. With a unique approach that blends football training, education, and life skills development, FC Madras is on course to raise the bar for football academies in India. The launch of this academy is a clear indication that India is ready to make its mark on the global football arena, and with more such initiatives, the future of Indian football appears exceedingly bright.
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