Shillong, May 11: Freddy Jyrwa of Meghalaya rose to the occasion at the final round of United We Play’s third season trials held in Mumbai and confirmed his selection along with three other participants for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Manchester later this year.

Organised by tyre maker Apollo Tyres in association with Manchester United, over 6,600 young footballers from all over India took part in the programme this year. The final round of the United We Play trials was held in the presence of Manchester United legend and one of the all-time greats Denis Irwin, who was suitably impressed by Freddy’s footballing talent and the mettle he displayed on the pitch during the trials.

In the finale held at Mumbai, four young footballers – Freddy along with Manipur’s Thangminlun Touthang, Aaryav Da Costa from Goa and Mumbai’s Niall Goghavala – were finally shortlisted for once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Old Trafford to participate in exciting activities like matchday experience, training session with Manchester United Soccer School coaches and legend interactions, scheduled for later this year.

The 17-year old Freddy’s footballing dreams have been fuelled by his mother, who works as a labourer and has raised him on her own since Freddy’s father passed away a few years ago. The boy from Meghalaya is a Class 10 student and considers Brazilian superstar Neymar as his favourite player.

He passed the initial round of trials held at Shillong followed by the second phase of the trials at Guwahati, from where he qualified for the grand finale in Mumbai, where he impressed the judges with his work rate and skills.

The United We Play initiative also travelled outside India for the first time to Thailand, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates where more than 1,000 children took part. In addition to the four players from India, one young footballer each from the three countries have also been identified for the exposure tour to Old Trafford.

The third season of United We Play was conducted across five broad phases comprising workshops and masterclasses and an on-ground leg in 12 cities across four countries in three phases, reaching out to more than 8,500 aspiring players in total. This year’s edition was the largest thus far and saw young footballers from across the four countries participate in various activities, including skill sessions, mini-tournaments and coach interactions.

United We Play is a pan-India initiative by Apollo Tyres and Manchester United to support young footballers in India by giving them a platform to showcase their skills with the objective of motivating aspiring footballers to continue playing, by engaging with them, and introducing them to global training methodologies.

This edition was launched in Goa in the presence of Manchester United’s first team players David De Gea, Anthony Elanga and Donny van de Beek.

(Photo contributed)

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