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9 RFYC graduates set to begin ISL journey

Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru FC's recruit from RFYC Thoi Singh with Sunil Chhetri.
Vyshakh K
Modified 15 Oct 2020, 14:36 IST

Nine players, who are set to graduate as the first batch from the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) academy in Navi Mumbai, will be signing contracts with leading Indian Super League outfits.

Aritra Das, Muhammed Basith PT, and Birendra Singh were snapped up by Kerala Blasters. G Balaji and Aqib Nawab are headed to Chennaiyin FC. Muhammed Nemil will join FC Goa, Thoi Singh will play for Bengaluru FC, and Ayush Chhikara will be a part of Mumbai City FC.

Koustav Dutta at Hyderabad FC, and G Balaji and Aqib Nawab at Chennaiyin FC have agreed to two-year contracts. The rest of the graduates will pen three-year contracts at their respective clubs.

“It is a matter of great pride and joy for us that our young champs from RFYC have embarked on their professional footballing journey with ISL," said Mrs. Nita Ambani, founder and chairperson of the Reliance Foundation.
“We started the academy in 2015 to provide a pathway for talented young players across India to build successful professional careers in the sport. These boys arrived at RFYC in their early teens and I am delighted that they step out today as highly skilled players, who have earned a place with the best football clubs in the country," she added.

RFYC was founded in 2015 with the vision to make India a footballing superpower in the future, by finding young talent through a pan-India scouting effort each year. These players have spent the last five years at RFYC and are the first batch of students to graduate from the academy.

Nita Ambani with RFYC athletes.
Nita Ambani with RFYC athletes.

These talented young athletes are offered full-time scholarships at the academy, with an equal focus on academics and sports. They have access to world-class facilities and train under experienced international and domestic coaches.

They are also provided a high-quality education at the nearby Reliance Foundation School in Koparkhairane. This provides them with a holistic environment to hone their skills, with additional support through dedicated departments dealing with sports science and sports psychology.

RFYC is the first residential academy based in India to be granted two-star Academy status by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), after being conferred with the status earlier this year.


AFC grants a two-star Academy status only after an academy meets their rigorous criteria. This includes the academy's ability to provide leadership, planning, organization, staffing, recruitment, finance, facilities, coaching, and fitness among other requirements.

RFYC is also the first youth academy in India to be granted a 5-star rating by the AIFF Academy Accreditation process in 2019.

The current strength of the RFYC Academy is 65 after 22 new youngsters joined the program last year. RFYC also supports AIFF’s coach education efforts to help strengthen India’s wider sports knowledge ecosystem.

Published 15 Oct 2020, 14:36 IST
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