Here's a glimpse into the impact football training by Just For Kicks has had on the lives of children across urban and rural cities in India, over the years.
Two years ago, Samrat was an average 8 year old child in the classroom, someone lost in the shadows of his outperforming friends. Through Just For Kicks, Samrat has become an icon not only in his school but also in his community. His father says the entire family and many people in the community watch football because of him. In a few months, Samrat is headed to UK to train with some of the world’s best.
Zaya had never played any sport in her life until Just For Kicks. Coming from a conservative community, all girls her age had to wear hijabs at all times and were not allowed to play any outdoor sport. Through Just For Kicks, Zaya not only managed to break this cycle but also changed the mindset of her entire community which now has a representation of 50 girls in the program.
In 2011, Manoj was performing poorly in his academic papers in school before he joined the Just For Kicks program. Five years later, Manoj has established his own private academy within the community where he coaches out-of- school children and conducts a football league for them. A mini Just For Kicks of his own! He also completed his coach certification with support from Just For Kicks and is looking to start working with schools. All this at the age of 18.
"The football program from Just for Kicks at SEED Schools has not only created interest in students but parents and teachers are happy too. It’s so satisfying to see happy kids around and football program has given them another big reason to love their school. I’m also inspired by seeing these kids picking up skills and competitive spirit in such a short period of time!"
"As a parent, I saw so many positive changes in Samrat’s life, as a result of football. I saw him become more confident and more disciplined. He has a schedule he follows everyday and he is always helping us around the house. More than that, our entire family is now united because of football and what Samrat is achieving. We love listening to him and supporting him. The entire atmosphere at home is now positive."
"When my girls’ team lost the national final in Mumbai, and everyone was dejected and sitting on the turf, I lost control and broke down. I told my girls, "I was proud of them", something I had never said to them in 2 years of coaching (what with my penchant for tough love and muted celebration). Immediately, my girls took to that idea strongly. They left the city as 'Proud Runners-up', not sad 'Losers'. I witnessed the power of giving hope to those who don't see it, and that, in short, is what football's all about."