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Riley moved by 'brilliant' Mumbai experience with Chelsea U14s

22 Mar 2020

Blues' Academy player recalls playing Kabaddi, visiting an Indian school and winning the Next Generation Mumbai Cup in February

For Chelsea Under-14 player Riley, February's trip to India for the Next Generation Mumbai Cup proved to be an unforgettable experience.

The Blues were one of three English Under-14 teams, along with Manchester United and Southampton, to play against the Under-15 sides from Reliance Foundation Young Champs and Hero Indian Super League (ISL) sides Benguluru FC and FC Goa in India last month.

Not only that, they visited a local school, where they were greeted with prayers and songs by the children, and played the Indian sport of Kabaddi.

"We had to physically put them to the ground. That was very fun and amusing," said Riley, who was part of the Blues team that won the week-long Next Generation Mumbai Cup with a 100 per cent record. 

"I'm not the biggest of boys, but it was good for me."

The Chelsea squad also played cricket, volleyball and football at the school and got to share experiences of their culture in England with the Indian schoolchildren. 

"They tell us what goes on in their world, we then tell them what happens back in England and we just get so much more information about this country. It's very good."

"My experience in India has been wonderful. Everything that I've seen, everything that I've done has just been very well done. It's quality, it's brilliant."

Adapting to different conditions

The experience was part of a knowledge-sharing trip by the English clubs in a week in which the Premier League and ISL announced a new mutual co-operation agreement to help the development of the game in India and benefit the youngsters from the PL Academies.

As well as getting a cultural experience off the pitch, Riley and his Chelsea team-mates had to adapt to the warmer climate and change the way they played.

"We had to control ourselves. We couldn't run the whole game because of the heat we'd get tired too easily.

"So we had to change our game and pop it around while they were chasing. We obviously had to change our style of play."

Also in this series

Part 1: Tanaz aiming to inspire female coaches in India
Part 3: Passion for football in India is growing, says Shearer

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