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South United Football Club Expands its Horizons: Touching Down in Pune with Three New Academies

Pune: South United Football Club (SUFC), Bengaluru’s first privately-owned Professional Football Club, has announced the expansion of its Academy to Pune, aiming to unlock and nurture the full potential of football in Pune. SUFC’s esteemed Academy, South United Football Academy (SUFA), has recently inaugurated three cutting-edge training hubs in Pune located in Bavdhan, Kharadi, and Undri, respectively.

SUFA’s vision in Pune unfolds as a progressive pathway, welcoming children right from the age of 3 years onwards to embark on their footballing journey. South United will run three programs at their training centres in the city, which will include their unique Toddler Development Program (3-5 Years), their flagship Youth Development Program (5-18 years), and their Elite Youth Teams (Under 13, Under 15, and Under 17) where talented athletes are provided a full scholarship from the Club, thereby opening a pathway to the Senior Team.

The Academy will conduct trials for the Elite program in the Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 age group categories at the Bavdhan centre in the coming days to select upcoming talent and incorporate them into the program.

Following the successful implementation in Bengaluru, South United strives to replicate this dynamic pathway in Pune. This was revealed at a media outreach event held by the Club today at their sprawling state-of-the-art Ganga Legends Sports Complex Academy in Bavdhan.

Penalty shootout competition conducted for the media

SUFA aims to provide a supportive environment to implement international coaching standards, enhance the existing infrastructure, and contribute to the overall footballing ecosystem to prioritize the development of football prodigies locally.

The SUFC leadership team, including Mr. Sharan Parikh, Director, SUFC, Mr. Terence (Terry) Phelan, Sporting Director, South United Sports Foundation, and Mr. Sachin Badadhe, Head Coach, SUFC, were present at the occasion.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Parikh said, “South United is part of a larger vision, which involves creating three fundamental pillars – culture, infrastructure, and a self-sustainable ecosystem. Our ecosystem comprises of the Football Club, the Academy, Sports Events, Sports Infrastructure, Sports Education, and the Sports Foundation. We aspire to be a case study for other football clubs in the country that also have the same purpose.

Mr. Parikh elaborated on the commitment of the Club to Pune by adding, “The heart of South United’s commitment to youth development lies in its academies. Here, young athletes are not only honed into skilled football players but are also taught indispensable values. Our primary motive is to build good human beings first. Since not everyone can become a professional footballer, it is all the more important that every child or individual entering any of our programs is able to experience holistic development just as a parent would want; we are their parents away from home.

Every city is unique, and Pune is as distinctive as it gets, even within Maharashtra. We respect this uniqueness and have tailor-made our approach and programs to cater to Pune youth. We want to work alongside the clubs and academies that exist in Pune to help each other grow and take the sport to new heights. We want to support one another, pull each other up, and succeed together. In that spirit of collaboration and cooperation, we can build a long-lasting, strong foundation for football in Pune!”

Mr. Terence (Terry) Phelan, Sporting Director of South United Sports Foundation also expressed excitement at being in the city saying, “Bengaluru and Pune are similar in many ways. Bengaluru has now developed a structured footballing ecosystem focusing on grassroots development. Not every grassroots player makes it to the top level but every top level player starts at the grassroots level. We have been flourishing in that environment and look forward to contributing to the growth of football in Pune. We believe Pune has a rich talent pool, passion for the game, and the required infrastructure for the sport to grow.”

Mr. Phelan also shared about opening a football hub in the neighbouring city of Solapur. He further revealed that the blueprint of a Baby League in the city has also been formalized, and preparations would begin soon.

The session began with a short film on the journey of SUFC, now in its 12th successful year, and concluded with an engaging penalty shoot-out challenge for the media personnel present.

SUFA has partnered with Pune-based Ileseum Clubs for their centres in Bavdhan, Undri, and Kharadi. The centres in Bavdhan and Kharadi have an 11-a-side pitch, while Undri has a 7-a-side pitch. SUFA will also run their Elite Programme, which will provide scholarships to selected talent from the city starting June in Bavdhan and Kharadi.




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