Humans Of Sport – Sharon Joe Thomas’s Story in the Trenches of Indian Football

My passion for football started when I was in class 4. As a child, I had numerous opportunities to play for the school team and represent them at the District level.

I joined a sports school in Coimbatore where I developed my game further and improvised my style of playing football. Since then, I was quite sure that the beautiful game was my future.

But life happened and I had to return to Bangalore. This took a toll on my career and my dream hit a bump. However, the passion never died. I began a small club with my friends and named it as HEAVENS UNITED. But soon, lack of grounds and financial issues meant we had to shut down the club.

Football

My dream took another hit when I met with an accident and was seriously injured. It looked like a playing career was moving away from me.

Not one to be deterred, I heard about Football Management while I was pursuing my degree. At that time, I met Arata Izumi, the Indian Samurai. He made me understand that “Playing is not only way to be part of Indian Football.” With his words in mind, I decided to pursue this program. Somehow, I managed to convince my parents that this was where my heart lay, away from a traditional career. I joined Skillanation under WIFA (Western Indian Football Association), following which, I did an internship with the AIFF (All India Football Federation) in the National Teams Department (Delhi).

This was a major turning point in my life, as I learned directly under the two great mentors, Shantha Ma’am (Senior Manager National Teams) and Himanshu Kharolia (current team manager in Indian Senior Team). With their advice and guidance, I decided to become a Team Manager myself.

Once I got back from Delhi, the struggle intensified. I sought to join a developing club as a Team Manager. To that end, I was in touch with many ISL and I-league clubs so I could kick start my career. This got me in touch with Rebel Football Academy, who gave me an opportunity to be a part of the club and begin working on my dream. Now, I am proud to be one of the youngest team managers in India.

It’s been one helluva ride, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support of my friends and family.

But this is only the beginning.

There’s more to come. A lot more. Until then, keep your eyes on the ball.

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