Thunderbolt 2018 – Mumbai’s Premier Monsoon Football League

Filling a key void in the football landscape
While the Mumbai monsoons and football go hand in hand, there was no real avenue for children to play and test their skills formally. At Footie First, we decided to create a platform for young footballers in the city to showcase their skills and test their wits – this is how the Thunderbolt League was born.

League vs knockout
Instead of teasing children with a fleeting experience of competitive football through an unforgiving knockout tournament, we chose to follow a league format where all teams play each other. The idea was to give teams room to experiment, find their style and give all players on the squad playing time. Further, since Thunderbolt was conducted in a 5-a-side Small Sided Games (SSGs) format, it allowed the children to get more touches of the ball while testing their skills, quick thinking and creativity.

City-wide participation
The inaugural edition of Thunderbolt stoked interest from diverse neighbourhoods in the city. From Vasai and Kandivali to Vikhroli and Mulund to Churchgate and Colaba, teams have come in large numbers to compete, but more importantly, inspire the children to give their best in a spirit of sportsmanship.

Why should boys have all the fun?
A core belief at Footie First is to help girls come out of age-old stereotypes. In this regard, we made a massive effort to include a Girls Under-14 category in addition to the Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 categories for boys. Despite being a challenge to get girls to have a kick about in the rain, nearly 70 girls from a broad demographic came together to break down barriers and display their grit, determination and talent.

Socially inclusive
One of the greatest powers of football is its ability to bring everyone on a level playing field, literally and metaphorically. At Footie First, our profit with purpose model demands that we include children from all backgrounds in our activities. To this end, every category had a minimum of 2 teams comprised of kids from economically disadvantaged communities. Their presence enriched our league infinitely while affording these children opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.

Focus on lessons from sport
Rather than keeping the focus plainly on winning, we encouraged parents and coaches to direct their attention towards attributes that included fair play, determination and discipline. At the same time, Thunderbolt has been designed to channel every child’s innate desire to excel, compete and win using football as a medium.

It’s a fabulous and hugely rewarding Thunderbolt season so far and we’d like to thank all of the nearly 1000 people involved in making it such an enriching experience for everybody! Here are some nice photos of the what’s gone down so far at Thunderbolt 2018! #WeLoveFootball