We need a tournament like Reliance Foundation’s RFYS to grow football and increase participation among girls in Kashmir: Afshan Ashiq – J&K’s Women’s Football Team

Srinagar, 24 June, 2024:–The Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS), that provides a platform for school and college athletes, kicked off the inaugural Kashmir leg of the U-19 school girls’ football tournament in Green Valley Education Institute today. The introduction of this tournament in Kashmir is set to open an exciting new chapter for girls football in one of India’s most picturesque regions, providing a vital platform for young female footballers to develop their skills and pursue their footballing dreams. The tournament will see eight teams competing in 15 games over six days at the Green Valley Education Institute.

In the inaugural leg of the RFYS 2023-24 Kashmir season held in November and December, SRM Welkin HR Secondary School triumphed in the U-15 category, while the University of Kashmir clinched the trophy in the U-21 category, demonstrating their prowess and dedication on the field.

“RFYS is targeting to revolutionise the footballing structure in Kashmir, with a special focus on the U19 girls’ teams. These young athletes often don’t get enough game time and need a tournament like RFYS to grow the sport and increase participation among girls. By streamlining key facets of the game such as playing time, youth coach development, and providing grants, RFYS aims to create comprehensive development opportunities for the sport. We hope to capitalise on these dreams to build a formidable footballing future for young girls,” Afshan Ashiq, goalkeeper in Jammu and Kashmir’s women’s football team.

RFYS, renowned for its transformative impact on grassroots and youth sports across India, brings its structured competition platform to Kashmir with a special focus on nurturing young female football talent. This initiative aims to provide crucial game time and development opportunities that are often limited for female athletes in the region. Since its launch in 2016, RFYS has impacted nearly nine million students across India. The addition of the Kashmir leg is a pivotal part of the program’s ongoing success, aiming to harness the region’s deep-seated passion for football and provide talented players with opportunities to excel and potentially join India’s professional football leagues.

About RFYS: Launched in 2016, the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) aims to transform grassroots sports in India by creating structured competition platforms for schools and colleges. It has allowed young athletes to showcase their talents through various competitions held throughout the year. Notable alumni of the tournament include Melroy Assisi, Hira Mondal, Makan Winkle Chote, Gurnaj Singh Grewal, Sivasakthi Narayanan, Shilky Devi Hemam, and Mariyammal Balamurugan, who have progressed to sign professional contracts with ISL and I-League teams, with some representing India internationally. The tournament has garnered widespread support from coaches, players, educational institutions, football clubs, and state federations, all recognizing its significance in nurturing football talent in India and contributing to the sport’s growth at all levels.

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