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Which ISL team has the best grassroots program?

One of the premises of the formation of the Indian Super League was that it will give a big push to the domestic football players as they will be playing with international football’s luminaries and get to learn the nuances of the games from highly-renowned coaches like Brazilian superstars Roberto Carlos and Zico, the Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi and former internationals David James and Nicolas Anelka amongst others. However, it is a well established fact that a good grassroots programme is essential for the organic development of the game as there is only so much a fully-grown individual can learn compared to their much younger counterparts.

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Most of the eight teams in the ISL are running some kind of grassroots programme to help the budding football stars realise their dreams. And Atletico de Kolkata, coming from one of the most passionate football loving states in the country, run a good facility for the youngsters aspiring to become professional footballers.

Former India goalkeeper Rajat Ghosh Dastidar is heading the grassroots programme of Atletico Kolkata and he has big aspirations for success with the work that his outfit are doing for catching youngsters interested in the beautiful game and help them develop into good football players.

Atletico Kolkata have a tie-up with Spanish football giants Atletico Madrid and the partnership between the two clubs has seen the players from the West Bengal outfit travel to Madrid and train at the club’s famous training ground, the Ciudad Deportiva Atletico de Madrid in Majadahonda, 20 km west of Madrid. Although such trips are mostly of help to the first team players of the Kolkata club, but it also gives exposure to their coaches with best practices from Spain that they then transfer to the aspiring kids back home.

Atletico Kolkata have done scouting across the state and have running workshops to attract youngsters interested in football. Being located in West Bengal has certainly helped their cause as there is no dearth of children aspiring to become professional footballers.