Gorakhpur footballer Mukesh qualifies for final of Million Dollar Kick

 Gorakhpur’s Mukesh Singh, a regular football player with Garhwal Heroes, who has also played in Santosh Trophy for National Championships, will now get a taste of a different kind of football, the American version, as he won the Lucknow leg of the ‘Million Dollar Kick’ Try Out.

Mukesh’s American dream in the NFL will get a new impetus as he joins the growing list of qualifiers for the Grand National Finals of the ‘Million Dollar Kick’ to be held in Delhi later this month.

An employee of North Eastern Railways, Mukesh learnt of the Try Outs from some friends and it was sudden decision to come from Gorakhpur to Lucknow for the trials.

With a massive number of hopefuls turning out at the Amity International School, Shaheedpath, the Railway footballer, who also plays club soccer in Gorakhpur, had a best effort of 62 yards in his final round of the qualifiers and emerged as the best potential from historic city of Lucknow for the Grand Finals.

Mukesh’s father Hari Singh is a retired school teacher and his mother is a home maker. The Faizabad-born Mukesh is the one who supports the family now and is posted in Gorakhpur for NE Railways.

Mukesh said, “It was a very sudden decision for me to come for the Try Outs, as I got to know about it only a day or so ago. I took the bus immediately to travel to Lucknow for the tryouts. Now I am really excited about the finals and will give my 110% in Delhi.”

Neeraj Sareen, Managing Director of Sportsmantra, who are running the “Million Dollar Kick” Try Outs in India, was pleased with the response and said, “The Million Dollar Kick has been a massive success and we have been getting calls to have Try Outs in many more cities. We plan to expand the scope of this competition in future editions.”

He added, ”We want to create an international opportunity for ‘kickers’ across India and make the NFL dream a reality”, added Neeraj Sareen.

The “The Million Dollar Kick” was presented by the creators of the world-famous ‘Million Dollar Arm’ franchise that led to Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel playing in the US’ Major League Basesball and Delhi based sports marketing and events company, Sportsmantra.

The Grand prize will be an all-expenses paid trip to the US for an American football coaching course at one of America’s top colleges, followed by a trial with top NFL teams to join their roster as an ‘NFL Kicker’, which could herald the start of the India story in American Football.

The City Try Outs have travelled through a large number of city. It started with Delhi and moved trough Dehradun, Ahmedabad, Goa, Kolkata and Lucknow. Almost 1,000 football hopefuls have had a go at the American version, which could open the gates to NFL in India and for Indians to go to the NFL.

The Try Outs were open to all males above the age of 16. They just need to turn up and ‘kick’. Each participant gets to take 10 kicks – and at the end of each ‘City Try-Out’ a number of participants make it to the Grand Final.