Kolkata Goalz is a Premier Skills project that helps build positive relationships between young people in high deprivation areas and the local authorities through sport. Over the last two years it has been operational in 12 venues across Kolkata, covering 24 police station jurisdictions and reaching out to 1000+ young people between 12-18 years of age, involved in weekly football training sessions, and other activities, including English teaching delivered by the British Council and participation in tournaments and athletics events.
The project is led by the Premier League and the British Council in partnership with the Kolkata Police, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, All India Football Federation and Indian Football Association (West Bengal) and in association with nine Kolkata Premier League Football Clubs — Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, East Bengal Club, George Telegraph Sports Club, Mohammedan Sporting Club, Police Athletic Club, United Sports Club, Aryan Club, Dalhousie Athletic Club and Kalighat Milan Sangha Football Club, who are directly involved in the delivery of the project.
Objectives of Kolkata Goalz are:
- to engage young people aged 12–18 years in a range of constructive activities
- to increase playing, coaching and officiating opportunities for participants
- to create routes into education, training and youth development
- to encourage volunteering within projects and throughout the target communities
- to increase young people’s interest in and connections with the professional game.
We successfully launched the Kolkata Goalz Cup tournament in 2012, which follows the model of the annual Kickz Cup competition in the UK. Kolkata Goalz now engages about 1,000 young people between 12–18 years of age at twelve venues across Kolkata covering 24 police station jurisdictions.
About 60 young people participating in the Kolkata Goalz have completed training programme from the Premier League that were designed to develop their leadership within the community and to improve their football skills.
Kolkata Goalz Vision
Our long-term plan is to establish a sustainable model in Kolkata which could potentially be replicated across India in partnership with other Premier League football clubs, police departments and municipal authorities.
Responsibilities of coaches and coordinators
Over 100 coaches and coordinators from the participating clubs have received community development and leadership training from the Premier League. These coaches are responsible for the football training in the respective venues. The coordinators are responsible for overall delivery of the programme and to collate the data required for the monitoring and evaluation of the project.
How our partners support the project
The Kolkata Police, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the Football Federations support the project through its infrastructure and advice. In addition to regular football training, the project also provides young people with other opportunities for training and development. We currently offer English language training using Premier Skills English resources as well as provide vocational training opportunities to our young participants.
About Premier Skills
Premier Skills is a collaborative project between the Premier League and the British Council, which uses football (and the interest there is in the Premier League) as a tool to help develop both community coaching and English language skills.
The courses train aspiring sports coaches and youth leaders to return to their own communities and enhance their existing football sessions, whilst also developing their leadership skills and a greater understanding of the role football can play in tackling other social issues.
In addition to the coaching and community leadership sessions, the British Council has developed English language materials and using football to inspire and capture the interest of millions of English language students worldwide.
Premier Skills Phase 1
In India, the first phase of the project was delivered in partnership with the All India Football Federation, ESPN-Star Sports and Nike. The other partners were the Indian Football Association (West Bengal), the Sports Authority of India, Netaji Subhas Eastern Centre in Kolkata; the Goa Football Association and the Kerala Football Association.
On an average, we selected 40 young footballers and coaches from each of the four participating areas: Delhi, Kolkata, Goa and Kerala. More than 85 per cent of the candidates were in the age group of 20–35 years, and all of the participants were involved in the local community as either a school or district trainer.
The young coaches were given a chance to develop their skills through a combination of classroom teaching on physical, psychological and nutritional awareness along with outdoor pitch training on football skills, leadership and communication.
The coaching was conducted in Delhi (February 2008), Kolkata (March 2008 & October 2008), Goa (January 2009) and Kerala (January 2009).
What the participants had to say
“From Premier Skills I learnt the idea of community development. I trained 15 boys in my locality (who had earlier been passing their time by gossiping and developing anti-social habits). They are now playing in the local football league and are responsible and mature citizens of our locality.”
Jayabrata Ghosh, Football Coach, Siliguri Football Academy, West Bengal
“Thanks to Premier Skills, I was able to overcome obstacles and implement a football coaching programme for girls from Muslim community in our locality.”
Priya P V, Lecturer cum Football coach, Department of Physical Education, University of Calicut.
Premier Skills Phase 2
Following the success of the first phase, 160 participating coaches completed a case study report on the work that they had achieved within their community. 27 coaches from across India, who were considered to have had the most impact in their community were shortlisted for the next stage.
The advanced and intensive Phase 2 India programme took place at the Sports Authority of India, Netaji Subhas Eastern Centre, Kolkata in January 2010. In addition to on-pitch football skills training, the programme included sharing of coaching and mentor techniques, project planning and management skills.
Participants also explored best practice from the UK in using football as a medium for community cohesion and educational development, and how this could be applied within an India context.