United We Play – Apollo Tyres & Man Utd returns with football initiative
During an event featuring former Manchester United great Dimitar Berbatov, Apollo Tyres launched the second season of United We Play, its pan-India initiative with the football club. Subject to Covid-19 regulations, United We Play will hold on-ground selection trials between February and April. Through two selection rounds, Apollo Tyres and Manchester United Soccer School coaches will select between three and five young footballers to visit Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, giving them the opportunity to participate in a training session.
The aim of the United We Play initiative is to support young footballers in India by giving them a platform to showcase their skills. During the inaugural season, over 4,000 players from across the country participated in a hybrid programme comprising on-ground trials and virtual sessions with Manchester United Soccer Schools’ coaches. The season concluded with four players treated to a surprise virtual call with Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.
Advocate of grassroots football
“The club is delighted to be working with Apollo Tyres on the second season of United We Play,” comments Mike Neary, head of Manchester United Soccer Schools. “The popularity of football in India is ever increasing and it is encouraging to see the number of young players who are keen to learn more about the game. Apollo are at the forefront of this and have been a huge advocate of grassroots football.
“The programmes we use at the Manchester United Soccer Schools teach young players not only football skills but also lessons they can go on and use in everyday life, like teamwork, dedication, hard work and respect,” Neary continues. “We hope all of the participants in United We Play take gain from their experience and learn skills that set them up for the future.”
Bigger & better
“We have been associated with football for a long time now and initiatives like United We Play, is our attempt to give aspiring Indian footballers a global platform to showcase their talent with a club like Manchester United,” says Rajesh Dahiya, vice-president, marketing, sales and service (India, SAARC and Oceania), Apollo Tyres Ltd. “At Apollo Tyres, we were really encouraged to see the response to the first edition and are happy to announce the second edition of the programme which promises to be much bigger and better. It will surely be exciting to see the kind of footballing talent that comes to the fore this year.”