Leading tyre maker, Apollo Tyres has announced the launch of the second
season of United We Play, the on-ground selection trials in association with Manchester United.
Subject to regulations and restrictions around Covid-19, the grassroots programme is
scheduled to begin in February 2022 and will go on till April this year. Through two rounds of
selection trials, Apollo Tyres and Manchester United Soccer School coaches will select 3 – 5
young footballers to visit the iconic Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester as well as the
opportunity to participate in a training session.
The second season of United We Play was launched with a virtual interaction with Manchester
United legend Dimitar Berbatov, where he spoke about the importance of grassroots
development, and initiatives like United We Play that encourage young footballers to
participate in sports. While restrictions around gatherings are still in place, Apollo Tyres has been
conducting online masterclasses, accompanied by skills challenges with lots of exciting prizes
on offer. As a precursor to the launch, online workshops with Denis Irwin were held, introducing
players to the Manchester United training philosophy.
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. In the first season of United
We Play, 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. At the end of the first season, 4 lucky players were treated to a surprise virtual call
with Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.
The second season of United We Play will be conducted across 19 markets in India, in a hybrid
format comprising 10 virtual workshops and Masterclasses across 12 markets, and an onground
leg across 8 markets in two phases, with a potential outreach to over 6,000 aspiring
players. As part of United We Play, Indian coaches will undergo a development programme
under the Manchester United Soccer School coaches, post which they will conduct the first
round of trials to shortlist the top players from each market. The second phase of trials will be
conducted by Manchester United Soccer School coaches, who will shortlist around 5 players.
Subject to travel allowances, the shortlisted players will be given a once in a lifetime
opportunity to visit Old Trafford to participate in exciting activities like a matchday experience,
training session with Manchester United Soccer School coaches, and legend interactions.
Mike Neary, Head of Manchester United Soccer Schools, said “The Club is delighted to be
working with Apollo Tyres on the second season of ‘United We Play.’ 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. 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.”
Rajesh Dahiya, Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service (India, SAARC and Oceania),
Apollo Tyres Ltd, said, “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. 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.”
The theme for this edition of United We Play, as envisioned by Apollo Tyres and Manchester
United, is ‘Access to Sports’ with the aim of creating access to global standards in player
development and engaging the youth via sport even without access to open spaces. In
addition to being the Global Tyre Partner of Manchester United Football Club, Apollo Tyres, in
India, has a presence in Indian Super League (ISL), being the principal sponsor of Chennaiyin
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