Just For Kicks, is a team driven by the determination to influence and shape how a child’s learning and personal growth is defined. Being crazy about the game of football, nothing drives us more than giving a child the opportunity to play and grow.
Vikas, an engineer by force and an educator by choice, started his professional life as a teacher in a low-income school of Pune. While desperately getting his students to work together as a unit, he introduced football into their lives - an experiment which produced magical results. A global ambassador to the United Nations, he decided to spread this magic to more schools by laying the foundation of Just For Kicks. An emotional Arsenal fan, visiting the Emirates Stadium was the biggest highlight of his life. When he isn’t breathing football, he can be found scouring the internet for flight deals to the most remote parts of the globe or reading up on World History.
Neha | Co-Founder
Neha equipped with a degree in psychology from New York University, began her career working with children from diverse backgrounds and schools, both in India and abroad, right after her UWC education. Her passion for EdTech eventually led her to an AVP role at one of India’s leading EdTech startups, before she co-founded Just For Kicks while teaching at a Government school in Mumbai. While coaching her team, Shindewadi Superheroes, she witnessed wonders unfurl that led her to replicate the idea at more schools. Neha is a Chelsea loyalist, always sporting some shade of blue. When she isn’t breathing football, she can mostly be seen at different restaurants in Mumbai experimenting with cuisines or dreaming of New York.
Santosh Nanduru | Operations Head
Santosh, another victim of the Engineering rat race, began his career as a teacher in a school in Hyderabad. The positive results of introducing football into the lives of his students led him straight into the arms of Just For Kicks. Ever since, he has been hell-bent on taking Hyderabad back to its glory days of football. Santosh is a team rarity in being a Red-Devil and needless to say, a big fan of Fergie. When he isn’t breathing football, he can be spotted at a theatre in Hyderabad catching all the latest releases of the week.
Rishi Nandwani | City Lead, Pune
Rishi, a boy of confused origins, began his career as a teacher in a Pune- based school. Rishi’s students who were already bitten by the Just For Kicks bug, got him into supporting their team in Pune, ultimately stepping up to take over the mantle of the city completely. He has supported Arsenal since Ljungberg scored that magical goal against Chelsea in the 2001 FA Cup Final, completing a trio of Gooners in the team. When he isn’t breathing football, Rishi can be found browsing for new electronic music or arranging things in the house for the umpteenth time.
Rissan Normen | City Lead, Bangalore
Rissan moved away from his original track of Commerce to a field he is deeply passionate about by pursuing a masters in Sports Management. After plying his trade with a management firm in the field of sports, Rissan found his true calling when he began volunteering at Just For Kicks in 2015. The opportunity to turn his passion into a career, all while getting more kids to play, got him on board full-time. Rissan has been an Arsenal fan since 2001, and his first memory of the club was Robert Pires' spectacular goal against Aston Villa. When he isn't breathing football, he can be found consuming one game after another on his ps4.
Appu Jose | Program Manager, Pune
Appu, an Economics graduate from Xavier’s, pulled a 180 to pursue a career in his area of passion - Sports. He spent significant time interning at a sports management firm before joining the Fateh Hyderabad team, an upcoming Indian Football Club. Having picked up the finer aspects of coaching, Appu joined Just For Kicks to take its coaching program to the next level. Appu is the only Scouser in the team and continues to believe their glory days aren’t far away. When he isn’t breathing football (which is not very often), he can be seen binging on TV sitcoms!
Kareena Rogers | Operations Associate, Mumbai
Kareena, a Psychology graduate from Symbiosis, began her career as a teacher in a low-income school in Pune. Being a football player herself, the work Just For Kicks was doing struck a personal chord with her. She continued to teach for four years before she decided to get her two big passions married - football and education, by dedicating herself to Just For Kicks. A Chelsea loyalist from the Abrahamovic era, she is also a hard core Germany fan. When she isn’t breathing football, Kareena can be seen saving the world from Mojo Jojo, giving the Powerpuff girls a break.
Ajay Jojo | Program Manager, Pune
Ajay, originally an Economics grad, decided to spend two years of his life teaching kids in a school in Pune. It was a decision that proved to be life-altering. He enrolled his students into the Just For Kicks program in Pune forming a team by the name of Kothrud Wolves who went on to terrorize defenses across football leagues in Pune. Ajay is a fan of FC Barcelona since the times of Ronaldinho, though the Kothrud Wolves are his all-time favorite team. When he isn’t breathing real-life football, Ajay can be seen playing Football Manager or watching random videos online.
Tarun George | Program Manager, Hyderabad
Tarun spent a good part of his early career behind a desk, focused on approving loans and going through balance sheets. It did not take long for him to close the books and move on to the field of sports, as he preferred the outdoors much more. He worked with a sports management firm in his home town of Cochin. This is where he realized that he would rather use his skills to get every kid an equal chance at sport; a realization that brought him to us. Tarun is a fan of the Tottenham Hotspurs and spends a large chunk of his time hiding away from Gooners. When he isn’t breathing football, Tarun can be seen loading up on his share of Malayalam movies or playing Tennis.
Karen D'Mello | Head, Marketing & Communication
Karen, after spending years in college studying the sciences, realized that her incessant talking, to-do lists and journal entries were her true calling. Armed with a master's degree in mass communication and six years of experience in the field of marketing and corporate communication, Karen is now the in-house storyteller. She has always followed football on television but has been an ardent fan of the Bengaluru Football Club ever since their debut in 2013. Every other feeling paled in comparison to what she felt when supporting 'The Blues' play live on their home ground in an atmosphere so electric, she knew she was hooked and there was no turning back. When she isn’t breathing football, she is either coaxing music out of a temperamental guitar or gratifying her wanderlust.
Trisha Rajani | Advisor
Trisha, who began her career at Goldman Sachs in London, decided to move back home to join Intellecap, a company in the social enterprise space. She was introduced to Just For Kicks through a friend, wherein she spent a ton of time with kids from a school in Sion and fell in love with the experience. Today, along the sidelines of her core work, she spends part of her time in developing key partnerships for Just For Kicks. A player herself since the age of 10, Trisha is a huge fan of the World Champions Germany. When she isn’t busy with work or football, Trisha can be seen cooking up a storm in her kitchen or immersed in her books.
Arjun Vaidya | Advisor
Arjun, after graduating from Brown University, returned to India where he worked with a top private equity firm for two and half years before moving on to take his 150 year old family legacy of Ayurveda ahead. He now serves as an advisor and fundraising champion for Just For Kicks. A hardcore Manchester United fan, Arjun believes so deeply in the power of sport that he spends a lot of his time bringing crucial stakeholders to Just For Kicks. When he isn’t breathing football or Ayurveda, Arjun can most likely be seen playing one of the many sports he loves.