Pune FC recently played host to U Dream Football and their coaches from Bundesliga club, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who had come to conduct a one-day football clinic at Pune FC Training Pitches in Mamurdi.
The clinic had been planned to give boys training with Pune FC Soccer Schools an opportunity to showcase their skills and get a shot at U Dream’s 6-year full-time residential scholarship program with TSG Hoffenheim in Germany.
While many were keen, over fifty boys were deemed eligible to participate in the clinic based on pre-defined age criteria. Coaches Oliver Döeking and Saksham Kakkar then introduced the U Dream Scholarship Program to the players and explained how the clinic would flow.
On a crispy wintry morning, the Pune FC boys were into their groove quickly after a good dynamic warm-up and were, but naturally, eager to show their quality to the coaches. The clinic promptly kicked off with a set of technical exercises with and without the ball that would provide coaches with opportunities to evaluate physical coordination, speed, agility and mastery of the ball. At the end of the technical session, only players who met the performance benchmarks continued in the clinic while those who did not make the cut returned to regular training.
With the technical exercises done, the players were then split into teams of eight to play small-sided games. The games enabled coaches to see the lads in action and assess their play on and off the ball. During these games, coaches evaluated the player’s first touch, quality of passing, use of both feet, awareness of space, movement, attitude, determination and decision-making.
After the small-sided games, coaches then selected a smaller group of boys from the batch to conduct a third set of exercises focused on passing, movement and shooting with both feet. Eight boys were put through the paces as they performed a variety of challenging drills to prove their quality to the coaches.
Finally, after a grueling round of drills, games and exercises, three boys from Pune FC Soccer Schools were shortlisted to the U Dream Football Final List. The Final List comprises about 200 players from across India from which nearly 40 will be awarded highly-coveted scholarships to train at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim for six years.
The boys selected from Pune FC Soccer Schools are: Chaitanyaa Advani, Adarsh Vanjare & Pranav Kale.