I-League side Dempo SC have announced the signing of India U-19 striker Uttam Rai.
Uttam is one of the top prospects in India football and is currently with the AIFF U-19 Elite Academy in Goa. He chose the five-time I-League champions after being courted by most of the top ranked clubs in country.
Rai has recently returned from an impressive stint with English Championship side Reading Football Club, where in he scored four goals for Reading FC’s Development Side during a series of friendly matches. Prior to his time in England, Uttam spent six months with the Colorado Rush Academy in the USA and also trained with MLS side, Chicago Fire.
A product of the Namchi Football Academy in Sikkim, Uttam trained at the IMG Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Florida between 2010 and 2012.
After signing for Dempo SC, Uttam was quoted as saying, “I am very happy that I’ve signed my first professional contract with one of the most successful clubs in India. Playing for Dempo SC is a dream come true and I’m looking forward to developing my game under the guidance of Mr. Arthur Papas. I’m ready to contribute to the club in any way that I can.”
Dempo SC head coach Arthur Papas said, “We are excited that Uttam is joining our club. He is one of the most promising young players in India at the moment and we feel still has much development to occur. We are working towards building a squad in which one of the objectives is to have cream of the top talents within India as part of the first team squad, and Uttam fits into that category perfectly.”
FIFA Licensed Agent and Libero Sports Partner Arvind Narayan, who represents Uttam Rai, said: “We are looking forward to Uttam’s rise and development, and we are confident that he is at the right club, Dempo SC and under the right coach, Mr Papas. This will be the perfect platform for Uttam to hone his skills and become a better player.”