Introducing the U15 FC Goa Team
It’s been a pretty remarkable year so far for FC Goa, not just for the first team but for the entire club as a whole. After the chaos and heartbreak from last season, there’s a new sense of purpose and confidence that’s seeping through this season.
Last season ended in turmoil, with the club languishing at the bottom of the table which led to the legendary Zico being relieved from his position as head coach. Over the summer break, the clubs management immediately set out to strengthen the foundation and rebuild the club from the ground up. Youth development and economic stability was the clubs new focus, which meant that the ideology had to ring true right from the grassroots systems to the first team.
With this in mind, the club hired coaching staff and personnel who believed in this ideology. New structures were put in place and the youth system was revamped. An all-new pyramid was created from our grassroots to the first team with teams of different age categories in between. Children now have a proper path to follow if they harbor dreams of breaking into the senior squad.
The management understood and acknowledged that this path would take a while to show results as players and coaches needed to get acclimatized to them. But despite starting out from scratch, a lot of progress has already been made. Our first team is winning hearts of neutral fans all across the country for their swashbuckling style of play and in the lower brackets, while not making national news, our U15 team is making huge strides in the U15 I- League. They have just qualified from a tough regional round and are now in the second round of the tournament.
The U-15 team was assembled and started playing together back in 2015 when the club just started its grassroots program. The players were all picked up from the 16 training centers and in the first year itself, showed immense quality to become runners-up at the U14 tournament. The children were just 11 or 12 years old then.
Since then the lads have been training thrice a week and developed a strong sense of camaraderie while also showing individual glimpses of brilliance. Aside from two boys who were scouted from outside our grassroots centers, the entire squad is FC Goa through and through.
The boys fought it out through some tough competition, battling the likes of Churchill Brothers SC and Dempo SC to make it through the second phase. Head coach Gavin knows that the boys have to step up their game, as they now take on some of the best teams in the country and try and prove their mettle. The boys know what’s at stake but also know that there’s a long road ahead of them.
There’s a clear playing philosophy that’s being instilled in the first team by senior coaches Sergio Lobera and Derrick Pereira. Coach Gavin knows the importance of following that attacking philosophy. As he says “If we want the first team to continue playing our style of football and according to that philosophy, we need to produce players that play that way right from the ages of 10 onwards. If we manage to bring players from our academies to the first team, the transition and adaptation to that style will be seamless and much faster”.