Thiruvananthapuram

First Indian in Harvard soccer team

Sixteen-year-old Vardhin Manoj, a U.S. citizen by birth, hasagreed to join the Harvard University soccer team as soon ashe finishes school.  

When IT professionals Manoj Prasad and Lakshmy Manoj took their toddler to a park in California more than a decade ago, little did they realise that one day he would dribble his way to the prestigious Harvard University.

Sixteen-year-old Vardhin Manoj, a U.S. citizen by birth, has been offered a place in Harvard University soccer team and has agreed to join the team as soon as he finishes school.

The 11th grade student of La Costa Canyon High School, California, is the first player from India to be offered a place in the Harvard University soccer team purely on the basis of football talent. Vardhin Manoj impressed all and sundry with his impressive goal scoring skills in U.S. Western Region competition.

A regular member of the San Diego Surf Academy under-16 team, Vardhin has been with the side for three years and has been the top scorer for his team for two consecutive seasons. “I wish to become a professional footballer and play in Europe. I am also keen to play in the ISL if I get a chance,” said Vardhin, who is a great fan of Brazilian legend Ronaldo. Vardhin, who closely watches the fortunes of Chelsea in the English Premier League, also trained with Manchester United development squad and was selected for the Olympic Development Programme.

Full encouragement

His parents have always encouraged Vardhin. “He looked very comfortable with the football when he first touched it. We have only encouraged but as he grew older I told him that his studies shouldn’t suffer because of his football. He is free to chase his dreams. I have given him all the support he needed,’’ said Manoj.

Vardhin has always kept his word to his father and scored high marks in his grade exams. The youngster has worked hard to improve his fitness with a personal trainer and is serious about his choice as professional footballer. Now in Thiruvananthapuram on a holiday with his parents, Vardhin says his ambition is to play in the FIFA World Cup in the future.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 1:30:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/first-indian-in-harvard-soccer-team/article8042435.ece

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