I’m 14 now but I’ve been told by my mother that she always knew I would be a footballer, based on all the Premier League quality kicking I did in her belly!
My football career had ‘kicked off’ in the school that I first went to, Campion. Mumbai. Mr. Wilfred Alva was the coach who introduced me to football in the first grade, teaching and shaping me into the striker I am today. He always encouraged me to play to the fullest. I remember the time when I was playing in the U-12 category and suffered a bad ankle injury during a crucial stage in a big tournament. I really wanted to play, and so I practiced with my left leg all day and ended up scoring a goal for my team with my left foot. I had it in my mind that I will play, come what may, and I did. I think that left foot goal also had an impact on my family as they saw that I never gave up and also how hard I can work.
I acquired an interest in football when I first saw Manchester United, my favorite EPL club play football on TV when I was only about 5 years old. I had been playing for Campion every year until I shifted to BD Somani International School where football wasn’t as big a sport as it was in Campion. However, I have played for my team in BD and we’ve won many matches and some tournaments too. Recently, I won the title of the highest goal scorer in Mumbai and received the Golden Boot in the Tata Tiago School Football Championship organized by Just For Kicks. I really appreciate JFK for gathering so many teams from all backgrounds together and putting up an unbelievable tournament. I was also recently approached by Mumbai FC for i-League. According to me, football is a sport that keeps your mind calm, all the time. It has taught me that it’s important to stay united and never give up. I think if people keep this in mind it’ll be a better world to live in.
My late grandfather who was a philanthropist strongly believed that it is important to give back to society and in that spirit, I recently organized a football event for the children of the Oscar Foundation who I train whenever I have holidays. The tournament hosted at the Cooperage ground saw matches between the U12 girls and boys and U14 girls and boys of the Foundation and BD Somani. I did this as I had promised them that I would make them play a tournament and the children seemed to love it. The smiles on their faces that day made me feel good about what I was doing and all the effort was worth it. This event wouldn’t have been possible without the head members of the Oscar Foundation who are Mr. Suraj, Mr. Ashok, and Mr. Leon. It was great to see the children showcase their talent.
I’d like to have many more of this kind of events in the future as I believe giving back to society is a very good thing to do. The next event I plan to implement is something to do with the visually impaired. Most probably it will be a cricket match for them with some of my friends and me where we can blindfold ourselves to make it a fair event.
Football to me is more than just a sport, it is a way of life and quality living at that.
– Dev Gupta
Student and Footballer, BD Somani International School