India’s first residential football academy for girls has been launched in Bangalore. The Rebels Football Club and Academy - located in Yelahanka, about 20km from the city centre – will cater to girls in the 14-22 age group, who are aspiring footballers. The year-long programme comes with infrastructural facilities and top coaches needed to assist them in attaining their ‘goals.’
To help the aspiring footballs follow school education simultaneously, the academy also offers ICSE, CBSE IGCSE and SSLC syllabus up to high school, and multiple streams in arts, science or commerce at collegiate level. This is a collaborative agreement with educational institutions such as Akash International School and Seshadripuram Educational Trust.
The RFC is a 'B' division football club established in 2006 and owned by Footieculture India Pvt. Ltd. The club is recognised by All India Football Federation (AIFF), Karnataka State Football Association, and Bangalore District Football Association. They have played in over 500 knockouts and leagues so far. The Academy was officially launched in May 2018, in an effort to help young footballers achieve their dream of becoming international standard players.
The RFC Academy is also recognised by AIFF, which is the governing body of association football in India. “We at the AIFF have a very robust plan to develop women’s football in India starting with the U17 Women’s World Cup in 2021 and hosting of the Women’s Asian Cup in 2022. Academies like RFC will go a long way in achieving the goals,” Kushal Das, General Secretary of All India Football Federation, was quoted saying in media reports.
The head coach for girls at the Academy is Maymol Rocky, who was head coach for Indian women’s national football team. She has been an international football players from 2001 to 2012. She has also worked as a Football coach at Sports Authority of Goa. Calling the academy an example for others to follow, Maymol has told SheThePeople, “The vibrant player development model at the Academy will lead to more players being available for selection for the national teams across all groups.”