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On the 18th of January, the Hero ISL Children’s League was officially launched at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata during the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash between ATK and FC Goa.

It was a clash of the titans as two of the best teams in the league locked horns with each other in the ‘City of Joy’. Both teams were aiming to climb to the top of the standings, and had their eyes set on not only progressing to the semis but also booking a prestigious spot in next season’s AFC Champions League.

The stage was set as all the 22 warriors were escorted on the field by Hero ISL Children’s League kids, who acted as mascots on this high voltage occasion. Following the soft launch in November 2019, the Hero ISL was finally demonstrating their grassroots programme, the Hero ISL Children’s League, to the rest of the country. The floodlights were beaming down with the LED advertisement boards displaying the Hero ISL Children’s League logo.

Proud parents had accompanied their kids to the stadium, witnessing them share the limelight with some of the best players in the country. Ripa Guria, a parent of one of the kids participating in the Hero ISL Children’s League proclaimed that, “I am very excited that my daughter is playing in the Hero ISL Children’s League. I am supporting her so that she can play well. I am enjoying the experience as much as her.”

The kids were involved in two separate exhibition matches, which were conducted in front of the spectators during the half-time break. Both matches were played on a 4 v 4 pitch. ATK’s Anas Edathodika and FC Goa’s Jackichand Singh joined the kids during the half-time break.

ATK completely outclassed FC Goa 2-0 in this ISL league stage encounter, riding on goals from Indian duo Pritam Kotal and Jayesh Rane. The goal-scorer and Hero of the Match, ATK’s local boy Pritam Kotal posed for a selfie with the jubilant Hero ISL Children’s League kids.

The Children’s League participants had a memorable night watching their heroes in action, sharing the stage with them, getting to be a part of the glitz and glamour of the Hero ISL and witnessing their team climb to the top of the standings. It was a night straight out of the story books for the Hero ISL Children’s League participants.