Travancore Royals FC is India’s first fan-owned club, a model that has been highly successful across the world. The club started its operations in the year 2018, with an aim to regain and uphold the great sporting legacy of Kerala. On Saturday (06.02.2021), they launched their team for the upcoming season in a function organized at the Parish Hall of St. Francis Xavier Church. MLA of Kovalam constituency, Mr. Vincent, was the chief guest of the gathering and numerous prominent coaches and officials attended the function. The players were presented with new kits and boots by the MLA and officials.
For this season, TRFC has recruited 120 players (U13, U15, U18, Senior Men, and Women) and a major chunk of them are from Ananthapuri itself. Like previous seasons, the team focuses on young talents who can represent the national team in the future. The philosophy of the club is similar to that of Spanish giant Atletico Bilbao: nurture the local talent.
An 18 member women’s team is also part of TRFC’s roster and they are among the very few professional clubs in India which has a team for ladies. The training of the ladies’ team will begin soon once they receive permission from All Saints College, where they had been conducting coaching sessions for the ladies’ team since inception. The boy’s and men’s teams have already started their training.
Suresh Rajappan and Roshan are the youth team coaches and the coaches for other teams will be announced soon, according to club CEO Jibu Gibson. He continued to say that, TRFC will participate in all the youth football competitions possible this year to give maximum playtime for the youngsters. He added that, so far there has not been any clarity regarding AIFF youth leagues due to the COVID pandemic situation, however, TRFC is ready to participate if AIFF organizes the leagues. COVID pandemic has caused a standstill in all fields and Indian football, especially the youth leagues, also suffered the damage by the same.
Mr. Gibson, reiterating their commitment to develop young talents, made it clear that TRFC will be a part of Kerala Youth League and Kerala Academy League from next season onwards. On being asked about the schedule of the senior men’s team, he replied that they will participate in the Trivandrum division league (if it happens) this season. There is a cloud of uncertainty in Kerala as far as football is concerned and much to the relief of Kerala football fans, Kerala Football Association (KFA) yesterday announced the schedule of Kerala Premier League which will see 12 teams contesting for the coveted title.
Scientific and structured training is what TRFC offers to the youngsters and they have left no stones unturned in this matter. For injury prevention and performance analysis, they recently introduced gadgets from First Beat Technologies for their players which is a first of its kind in an Indian football academy. We can hope that fresh talents will emerge through TRFC from the city of Padmanabha, who will subsequently represent Kerala and India in the bigger stages.