THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: FC Kerala, a Thrissur-based football club operating on a crowdfunding model, has taken another step towards turning fully professional after opening their own football academy centered around the Thrissur Corporation Stadium earlier this month.
The FC Kerala Soccer School will have around 200 youngsters aged between 6 and 18 years split into sub-junior, junior and senior batches receiving training from three AFC A licensed coaches V A Narayana Menon, T G Purushothaman and Biby Thomas.
There is also K K Hameed, a level 2 goalkeeping coach, for giving special attention to goalkeepers in the academy. "Having your own age-group teams is very important to sustain a club and we have 140 youngsters already signed up," said Menon.
"The senior batch is already filled. At present, we conduct up to four sessions every week. The response has been excellent forcing us to think of expanding the programme to the Ernakulam district too" said Menon, head coach of FC Kerala.
"If a school with a good playground and supporting facilities is willing to accommodate us, we are open for a partnership to open the Soccer School at their campus," said former India U-14 national team coach Menon.
The club, founded in 2014, has been on a membership drive over the last few months with a normal membership unit costing Rs 25,000 and premium unit costing Rs 60,000.
But what makes FC Kerala different is that the money of the investor is left untouched. The club will be run using the interest generated from the bank deposits so that the investors don't run the risk of losing their investment.
"We have close to 1,000 promoters who have committed -- most of them picking premium units. With this investment, we plan to buy 30 acres of land in Thrissur by June which will house our own ground, academy, clubhouse and other facilities," Menon said.
"The investors are a few businessmen, former footballers, coaches and fans who love football and wants the game to develop in the state," said the head coach.
Among the promoters roped in are former footballers I M Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri and V P Shaji and businessman T S Pattabhiraman of Kalyan Group.