Tom Byer

Hyderabad, Oct 6 (IANS) Fateh Hyderabad Associated Football Club on Thursday announced that it has roped in world renowned football coach Tom Byer as a co-owner and launched an initiative to develop the game at the grassroots level.

Byer, a former professional football player, is originally from New York. He is now based in Tokyo and is one of the most decorated and admired grassroots football coaches in Asia.

The club has partnered with Byer for the “One Child, One Ball” programme, which will cover hundreds of kindergartens and primary schools across the city.

Byer, along with Fateh Hyderabad, will introduce a bottom-up approach of developing skilled players, with the aim to make Hyderabad the model of change for the rest of the country.

Byer said he was excited over this collaboration.

“Fateh Hyderabad is taking a unique approach and I believe is setting a new standard for how football clubs in Asia should approach grassroots development. The ‘One Child One Ball’ programme is aimed at educating both parents and children between the ages of 2-6 on the importance of basic ball manipulation skills with a football,” he said.

“We have a comprehensive program of India specific seminars, workshops and events for both the parents and children to develop and love this game passionately,” Byer added.

Fateh Hyderabad owner Yogesh Maurya said the initiative was part of their efforts for the long term development of football.

“Tom has crossed the globe sharing his experiences and philosophy of introducing kindergarten boys and girls to ball manipulation. Technique is the foundation of any football player. His success in Japan and now China is well documented,” he said.

The 55-year-old Byer is known as the godfather of Japanese youth football, where his camps, soccer schools, a segment on a Tokyo television children’s programme have taught basic techniques to future stars like Aya Miyama, a member of Japan’s World Cup champion women’s team, and Manchester United’s midfielder Shinji Kagawa.

Byer has now been working in China for five years, and is currently the head technical advisor to the Chinese ministry of education, and oversees the Beijing Bureau of Education’s pilot kindergarten football programme.

Among the first to sign up for the programme was Iris Florets Group of Schools.

“Iris Florets is very committed to football and sports overall at the pre-school age. They have mandated play areas at all of their pre-schools to ensure physical development,” Maurya said.

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