Since moving to India 3 years ago, 2 of the biggest clubs in the world have set up shop in the country. One I was actively in involved with (FCBarcelona) and the other I just watched from a far (Manchester United). I had only read stories and seen pictures of the work Manchester United and the Western India Football Association were doing to help Manchester United Soccer Schools set up a permanent base in India, however a few weeks ago I got to live the MUSS experience firsthand.
I was in Mumbai for my colleague’s wedding but made sure that I didn’t leave the city without making a trip to visit Cooperage in lower Mumbai. So on a warm Monday afternoon I took a wild taxi ride from Bandra to Cooperage and spent a few hours with the MUSS administrative staff and coaches.
I must say that I was extremely impressed with the professionalism I experienced while speaking with the personnel and walking through the facility. Pure class tucked away in one of the most chaotic cities in the world.
If this same set up existed in most other countries, I’m certain that all footballers young (and old) would be coming out of the woodworks to learn to play "the Manchester United Way" in this world class environment. In India it will take some time though as clubs like Manchester United and FCBarcelona are essentially creating a culture where young footballers get comfortable with paying a premium price for premium quality coaching. It’s slowly happening and I know that with the type of staff, facilities and potential which exists in lower Mumbai, Cooperage is going be buzzing with thousands of young players entering the MUSS Mumbai pitch recognizing that it is their first step to achieving their dream of one day playing for the mighty Red Devils.