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Reds fans in the city were in for a treat when Liverpool FC legend and former player Jamie Carragher, visited to inaugurate the Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians along with Mr. Shirish Kulkarni, President Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians, today.

The inauguration comes close on the heels of a recently concluded three month long nationwide scouting camp held in six cities which garnered a phenomenal response and involvement from football enthusiasts across the country.  This initiative witnessed over 2500 participants who underwent rigorous selection processes under the supervision of Liverpool FC coaches Ray Curtis and Michael Rice. The 64 bestplayers will be finally selected to form the first intake of the Academy under-17 and under-19 age groups.

The unique partnership between Premier League team Liverpool FC and DSK Shivajians FC, brings a first-of-its kind international club residential football Academy to India, providing a major boost to this football focused infrastructure development. Set amidst green surroundings and spread over 20 acres of land, this Academy is located at the DSK International Campus at Loni, on the outskirts of Pune.

This revolutionary partnership is aimed at providing a platform for budding football talent from across India with the best environment and facilities to hone and develop their skills. This Academy is built to international standards and includes a purpose-built residential complex with 840 air conditioned and fully furnished single rooms. The Academy also features two full-size pitches, one 4G synthetic turf and one natural grass, and an outdoor swimming pool for exclusive use along with practice areas, lecture theatre, classrooms, changing rooms, a gym, canteen, convenience store and entertainment facilities. The campus is complete with 24×7 CCTV surveillance and has all the required medical facilities onsite.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the Academy Mr. Shirish Kulkarni, President Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians sharing his joy said: “Today I stand here feeling extremely proud to see the dream of associating with my favourite team in the world Liverpool FC and building a world class football Academy in India turn into reality. The country is now embracing the potential of this sport and today we are witnessing growing interest in terms of its acceptance and the investments being made. We hope to contribute significantly with this venture. With the world class facilities, infrastructure and supervision of coaches from Liverpool FC we are confident of nurturing the talent right here and creating a true legacy in the country.”

Under the Academy programme, specific and intensive football coaching will be provided to the final shortlisted 64 players who will form two groups of Under-17s and Under-19s. Players at the Academy will be developed by a dedicated team of UEFA qualified coaches from Liverpool FC along with other specialists from various allied fields such as strength and conditioning, sports psychology and education.

Ardeshir Jeejeebhoy, CEO Liverpool FC International Football Academy – DSK Shivajians on this occasion said:“India undoubtedly has huge football potential; which is why we partnered with the Premier League club – Liverpool FC, to create a global standard Academy. The course which will be offered at the Academy is going to help fine-tune our young players’ techniques and enhance their performances on the pitch. The selected boys will be trained the same way as they are at Liverpool FC and will be given the opportunity to develop the technical, tactical, physical and social aspects of their game”.

“I was at Liverpool’s Academy for six years before I went on to playing in the first team for 17 years. I know first-hand how important it is to have the right development as a young player to fulfil your potential” said Jamie Carragher.

 “The players, who will make up the U-17s and U-19s squads, will follow Liverpool’s philosophies both on and off the pitch. The kids are from all over the country and some of them have been awarded scholarships so this will be a life-changing experience for them. The Academy back in Liverpool is very close to my heart so it’s great to be here today and be part of the opening of India’s first international residential football academy” he added. 

The Academy is now officially open and will start its training programmes this month.