One step closer to the dream: How a boy from Chervonograd became the newest member of Shakhtar’s Academy
13-year-old Oleksandr Popovich from the project "Come on, Let’s play!" became one of the newest members of the Shakhtar Academy U14 team.
Oleksandr started his football career in his native Chervonograd (Lviv region). He was a member of the social project “Come on, Let’s play!”, jointly organized by DTEK and Shakhtar, when he was 8 years old. At the tournament in Ivano-Frankivsk, Popovich was noticed by Shakhtar's scouts, and in August of this year he successfully passed the final selection for the U14 team, which is preparing for the start of the season under the leadership of head coach Vitaliy Vitsenets.
“He has character and hard work. The boy is well-mannered, modest. Accepts information well and listens. And then - time will tell. His qualities are good, that's why he stayed at the Academy. In the future, everything will depend on us, but to a greater extent, of course, on him”, says Vitaly.
Oleksandr says that he is very happy to have the opportunity to study, live and train at the Shakhtar Academy in Shchaslyve. His goals are to constantly improve his skill level and, over time, play for Shakhtar's first team and the Ukrainian national team.
We can add that Popovich is not the first football player of the Academy from “Come on, Let’s play!”. Earlier Mykola Ogarkov from the Dobropol branch of the project (Donetsk region) similarly passed the screening and was accepted. Already in the 2018/19 season, he became the main defender of Shakhtar U14, with whom he won the DUFLU gold medals. Today Ogarkov is a player of the U16 team.
“DTEK supports talented youth. Our project is not only about sports, but also about team spirit, mutual assistance and respect for each other. And as practice shows, this approach allows to grow champions. Oleksandr is our champion and our pride. But it is even more proud that with the support of DTEK, almost five thousand children across the country play football for free”, comments Tatiana Overina, DTEK Energy Director for Regional Policy.
"Come on, Let’s play!" is the biggest social project of children's amateur football in Ukraine. It covers 36 settlements in the country. The project is administered by Shakhtar Social and DTEK with the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children. Last year, "Come on, Let’s play!" became the winner of the All-European competition of social projects More than Football Award 2019.