United legend Gary Pallister was on hand to launch the second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) programme in India and Sri Lanka this week. Airtel, the club’s regional mobile partner, is running the initiative for a second year.
The programme, which aims to find the region’s best under-16 football talents, has been a huge success story and is the largest youth football initiative in the area. The children selected through the programme are given the opportunity to travel to Manchester to undertake a week’s training with Manchester United Soccer Schools.
The format of the programme has been changed this year to ensure greater participation with aspiring footballers now able to upload videos of their skills. Those that make the grade will then be put through to the final selection trials along with those selected from the regional schools tournaments. Speaking ahead of the launch Gary said:
“With a an estimated base of 35 million Manchester United fans followers in India, we started working with Airtel on the ARS program last year and were more than pleasantly surprised with the kind of potential that footballers here possess. We are excited to raise the bar higher this year and take ‘Airtel Rising Stars’ into its second year of serious soccer talent scouting across all parts of India. ARS is one of the largest of its kind in India and gives us a great opportunity to coach these young, dynamic and talented players on how to play the Manchester United way”.
Those wishing to take part in the programme are advised to visit the following sites for more information:
India – Facebook.com/airtelsoccer
Sri Lanka – Facebook.com/airtellife