Karen, after spending years in college studying the sciences, realised 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.
Donato, a huge sports fan and a product of the football world, on completion of 6 years as a copywriter, decided to leave that field behind and pursue his first love, football. He has played the sport for a quarter of a century, starting off as a sprinter back in school; fast forward to 2017, and now is following his dream and helping grow the sport of football far and beyond where it stands today, one day at a time. When he isn’t breathing football, he is experimenting with different cuisines, swimming at the local club, running loose on the streets of Mumbai, collecting vinyl records, playing the drums, and TV series binging.
Adityanshu, a software engineer by education, worked in the field and then hopped on to marketing, but always dreamt of working for the beautiful game. He supports Brazil and Manchester United and dreams of going to the Maracana and Old Trafford someday. Sports gets his adrenaline gushing and watching football matches, and Olympic games with his mother are his most cherished childhood memories. When he isn't breathing football, he is indulging himself in tennis, yoga, quizzing, nonfiction books and binging on movies.
Dhruv has football running through his veins. He grew up playing the game and was fortunate enough to represent India at the U-17 level before injuries and academics got the best of him. He is now looking to put his Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University to practice and kick start a revolution in grassroots football defining the way we perceive the sport for decades to come. When he isn't breathing football, he is out being a social butterfly and occasionally entertaining people with his music, both vocally and instrumentally.
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 terrorise defences 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 favourite team. When he isn’t breathing real-life football, Ajay can be found song-writing, faking global accents or watching random videos online.
Rishi, a boy of confused origins, began his career as a teacher in a Pune-based school. His students who were already bitten by the Just For Kicks bug got him into coaching their team, ultimately stepping up to take over the mantle of the city altogether. He has supported Arsenal since Ljungberg scored that magical goal against Chelsea in the 2001 FA Cup Final, completing the sextet 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.
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 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, 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 catching all the latest releases of the week.
Venkatesh, from being a tech consultant in the US, decided to pack up and return to follow his passion in India. Having played cricket from a very young age all the way to playing for Tamil Nadu, sports was always an integral part of his life. Knowing that India had the talent to be great at every sport and level, he was always challenging the system. He decided that he had to be a part of the change if he wanted to see it realised, joining Just for Kicks to change the system from the grassroots up. When he isn't breathing football, he can be found playing cricket or badminton with every spare second, a Gunner at heart, and a reader by night.
Rudro started his career in Hospitality but very quickly realised it was not his cup of tea. He stumbled into the world of development in Mumbai and was hooked! While he worked in the Vocational Training and Education sectors of development, it was not long before he wanted to combine his life long love for sport and his new found love for the development sector. This is when he found Just For Kicks and his journey began. Rudro is a Manchester United fan since the great treble of 1998 - 1999 and when he isn't breathing football, he's probably eating biryani.
Vishal is a left-handed right-brained engineer, who started his career in automotive designing only to realise that a ball at his feet is what fills his heart with contentment. Being a strong believer in equality of opportunity, Vishal has been working in communities towards spreading the joy of the beautiful game. Inquisitive at heart, he keeps experimenting in teaching kids football, sometimes with a hint of math and physics. A Chelsea faithful since the earlier Mourinho days, he largely admires the charismatic ‘Captain Leader Legend’ John Terry. His best Blues memory is Michael Essien’s stunning goal against FC Barcelona. When he’s not thinking football, Vishal can be found developing theories of human evolution or planning his next prank.
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 realised that he would rather use his skills to get every kid an equal chance at sport; a realisation 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.
Nishanth worked at a recruitment consultancy firm, a production house and then an advertising agency before realising that he was wasting time and life and decided to pursue a career in sports. He used to be mad about cricket as a kid but when exposed to it knew that football, without a doubt, is the greatest thing in the world. He supports Arsenal and loves Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker, and Dennis Bergkamp. When he isn't breathing football, he is found watching obscure foreign movies, British comedy shows, reading books and entertaining himself with funny memes online.
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, 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.