MUMBAI: FC Goa, along with Bengaluru FC, was honoured with the Hero ISL Grassroots Award for the 2022-23 season on account of their significant contributions to the development of Indian football at the youth and grassroots level.
Carlos Pena, the head coach of FC Goa, speaking after he collected the award and a cash prize of ₹10 lakhs in a special ceremony following the ISL final on Saturday, said, “I love the mentality of FC Goa – they’re not only concerned about signing big names, and equally value player development. It’s one of the main reasons why I signed up to be their head coach last summer.
“The key with young players is to trust them and have patience with them, and this is something that doesn’t happen easily in professional football.”
The Gaurs, along with their community wing, the Forca Goa Foundation, have launched the Little Gaurs League, one of India’s biggest baby leagues. The competition, now in its 4th season, sees over 1000 children participating (including over 200 girl participants) in the U6, U8, U10 and U12 categories in a three-month-long tournament which spans over 3 months.
FC Goa, which launched its full-fledged youth structure in 2017, has, over the years, seen its teams win laurels both at the state and national levels, with wins in the Goa Pro League and Police Cup to highlight other notable performances.
The Gaurs, this season saw the U17 side win the Goa Football Association (GFA) 3rd Division (Bardez zone) title whilst their U15 and U13 sides romped home to convincing wins in their respective GFA championships. The U13 and U15 teams scored 95 and 45 goals, respectively, from their 8 games while conceding 5 each.