Oftentimes, young athletes and aspiring sportspersons are told that in order to succeed in being sportsmen or women at the forefront, they have to compromise in several aspects, like the kinds of food they eat, the late nights spent with friends, and – the highest price to pay of all – one’s education and academic prowess. But today, there is a glimmer of hope with the rise of the residential sports academy structure in India, which gives the opportunity to aspiring sportspersons to receive top-quality education alongside sports education. One profoundly successful example has recently been displayed by the student-athletes of Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) Residential Academy, in partnership with Vedas International School in Harayana. On July 15, 2020, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) declared the Class X results, and the players of BBFS Residential Academy received an astounding 100% passing result – a rare and extraordinary feat by young aspiring players.
Shirsh Gusain, secured the top rank in the school. Hailing from Uttarakhand, Shirsh joined BBFS Residential Academy in 2018 as a part of the first batch. Elated by his achievement, Shirsh’s mother, Deepa Gusain remarked, “We are extremely proud of our son and what he has achieved. We want to keep supporting him in his dream to be a footballer and so far, we know that BBFS Academy is the right place for him to go forward. The school and also his coaches have played a significant role in helping him cope with academics as well as his progress as a player. Thank you to BBFS for making my child a better version of himself and guiding him.”
Bhaichung Bhutia, ex-captain of the Indian national team and India’s most prominent footballer, is the co-founder of BBFS, and was delighted by the success of these aspiring pro-players, “This is a tremendous achievement for the players, who have not only been working hard on the field, but also striving to do well in their academics. The results truly reflect their dedication. Choosing to be a professional player is always a tough pathway, but we at BBFS are doing our best to provide the right framework and support system to guide aspiring players as they go forward in their professional careers. A huge congratulations to our dedicated players, and their parents, who have been selfless towards their kids by supporting them in every way to achieve their dream. We also extend our gratitude to the hardworking faculty & management of Vedas International School for this achievement. The success of these players is a sign of empowerment to all young boys and girls who wish to pursue their passion for sports, and we are proud of all the kids who take it upon themselves to never give up.”
Being a top football academy in India, BBFS Residential Academy provides the opportunity for aspiring young football players to pursue their academics while receiving the best-in-class football training. The school also has non-student athletes enrolled. However, 4 of the top 5 top rankers were student-athletes who are part of the BBFS Football Program. The teachers at Vedas International School try to focus on the strengths of the students. The world of sports can be extremely challenging. Apart from being outstanding in the sport itself, these young players grow to become role models and public figures as they succeed in the future, and it is important for them to be holistic individuals and think even beyond the field. For this, it is crucial that they receive quality education so that they can also choose future career paths beyond the life on the pitch. In line with those efforts, it is heartening to see that almost every player from the program has also scored very well in one or two of the core subjects, as their teachers have continuously built on their strengths to develop their skillset there.
The Residential Academy’s Football Program also has students on scholarship. Out of the 24 scholars, 18 have secured First class scores with 22 pupils securing a distinction across subjects like English, Hindi, Mathematics, Science, and Social Sciences. Mr. Kishore Taid, Co-founder and CEO of BBFS was quoted as saying, “Starting a residential academy meant that we had to do what we could to help these budding players succeed as footballers and also as students. It is heartening to see the exemplary manner in which our students have risen this year. Our hard-working scholars have proved that academics and sports can go hand-in-hand and that results can be achieved if we give our best. Their commitment is outstanding and they have already started to set great examples at such a young age. We will continue to do whatever it takes to see each of our players succeed. We welcome other aspiring footballers – though times seem uncertain, our players are still working hard, and if you believe you want to chase your dream, we may have a place for you at BBFS Residential Academy.”