For the first time in India, successful individuals have been chosen to engage in a structured & uniform football Premier League format by ROOTS PREMIER LEAGUE (RPL), founded by Santino Morea and Harpreet Baweja, who have created a unique League that is managed, sponsored and played in as if it were a professional League, separating them from any other competition. This year they are announcing a women’s-only league and individuals who are Captains of Industry, Owners of various conglomerates, Businessmen, CEOs, Executives, Lawyers, Doctors, Actors, TV Hosts, Models and more. The objective being to promote amateur football in India, to build a community based sporting event and to create a healthy and positive ecosystem that benefits everyone involved.
RPL is supported and promoted by various media friendly faces, such as Vidhyut Jhamwal, Dino Morea, Gabriella Demetriades, Shibani Dandekar, Rannvijay Singh, Pratiek Babbar, Mandana Karimi, Lisa Haydon, Sapna Pabbi, Bruna Abdullah, Upen Patel, Ananya Birla, Nandita Mahtani, Arjan Bajwa, Siddhanth Kapoor, Rohan Shrestha, Aparshakti Khurana, Samir Kochar, Jacky Bhagnani, Adhuna Akhtar, Bhavna Pandey, Amrita Puri, Mandira Bedi, Aditya Roy Kapoor. and others. Many of the names listed above are even Owners/Players in the league.
PREMIER LEAGUE will run for a 3 month, 14 game week period, in an 8 vs 8 game (each team has a roster of 14 players). ROOTS will run FOUR leagues concurrently for the SPRING season, Bandra North (Andrew’s Turf), Bandra South (Andrew’s Turf), Juhu (Gallant Turf) & the Women’s League (Andrew’s Turf). The leagues culminate in a Championship Knockout Stage within the city, with the 4 top teams from each league battling it out against each other, as well a Plate Knockout for the bottom 4 teams. The City Winners will go on to play each other for the mantle of Roots National Champions.
Talking about the league, founders of RPL, Santino Moria & Harpreet Baweja said: “ The one thing that we have always felt lacking in our daily lives has been a focus on a collective & positive environment that brings together friends & families. Everyone has an opportunity to out for drinks, to party, or perhaps to go watch a movie. But when was the last time, you gathered with everyone you know to watch your friends play a sport, to support to them & cheer them in a competitive environment. We at Roots are committed to creating an ecosystem that promotes football, fitness & community, while working with various brands & products that benefit from being a part of this healthy environment. Our focus is to expand Roots into various Tier 1 cities, creating a similar ecosystem. There’s nothing better for Roots Football to see 300 individuals come together to spend an evening full of football, food, and friends”
Next year, ROOTS looks to extend itself beyond Mumbai & Delhi, to other major cities as well. Once established in New Delhi they will be able to extend the leagues and create not only inter-city competition but an intra-city knockout format, hence National Championship. Using this model, ROOTS intends to create intra and inter league formats that extend to all the major cities in the country: Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata & Pune.
This expansion does not stop with the Men’s League. Due to popular demand they have created a Women’s League and have some dynamic pioneers that are keen to assist in the process and use their voices to develop this arm of ROOTS. Their aim is to empower women in India through sport, and they are honoured to be a part of this.
Roots believes in supporting sports in India especially at the grassroot level and giving back, which is why their charity program is consistently active – They have tied up with Kunal Kapoor’s crowd funding organisation, Ketto.org to raise money for SLUM SOCCER, which benefits underprivileged kids from slums through sports. Roots works on raising money for these children through its communities as well as playing various charity games to achieve that target. Just For Kicks is another organisation that Roots is associated with for this purpose.
Link to the highlight video from last year (https://youtu.be/_D9ENH8XdSc)
About the founders
A Purdue University graduate and is currently the Co-founder & Director of Aroma Thai Spas and Butter Events. Harpreet manages the business and financial side of The Roots Football Academy as well as overseeing the day to day operations, sponsorship, upcoming football events and expanding Roots into other markets. Originally he was brought up in Thailand, and played for various varsity teams growing up including Bloomberg in New York. Football & Community have always been an integral part of his life and this Academy is an extension of that.
Having graduated in film direction and acting in LA, Santino proceeded to work with Warner Bros on movies like Constantine, Miss Congeniality, Poseidon and others. Following years of working with Hollywood film units at the highest level, he returned to India and signed onto working with Dharma productions in order to grow his career in other areas of film such as direction, production and talent management. His love for sports stemmed from playing football his entire life, and since co-founding Roots, he decided to turn that passion into something tangible that utilizes skills previously acquired along with his natural ability to genuinely connect with people by adding a new dimension to the Roots team.
About Roots Football Academy
ROOTS FOOTBALL ACADEMY was set up three years ago in 2015, with a vision to become pioneers of the AMATEUR Indian Football Industry and build a nation-wide program. However the league was launched one year ago. In one year, RPL has grown from 66 players and 6 teams to 400+ players across 32 teams.