The 18-year-old has scored three goals in the ongoing I-League campaign in Calcutta …
As part of our NxGn India series, Goal takes a closer look at the country’s most promising young talent.
Next up on this feature is talented Indian Arrows midfielder Harsh Patre who is starting to make a name for himself and is considered one of the most promising players in the country.
Harsh Patre started his football with basic vocational training at the Mayem Center of the Goa Football Development Council (GFDC) in 2013. He played at the GFDC Rising Stars Football Festival – the first of a popular league in India and then selected for a Three-year residential GFDC. Academy program in 2016.
His fantastic display during his time at the academy won him laurels such as the Subroto Cup in Goa on two occasions while playing for Holy Spirit School in the U-14 and U-17 categories. At the club level, before joining the Indian Arrows, Patre won the Goa zone in the U-15 I-League qualifiers for two consecutive seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19 while representing Churchill Brothers.
How it all started for Harsh
“I started playing football when I was seven or eight, and I started training (professionally) for the first time at a GFDC center near my home. The first time I was represented Goa was at U-14 level and I had the opportunity to captain the team. I was also the youngest player on the team at the time, “the Goan from Bicholim told Goal.
Although he helped Churchill Brothers advance to the U-15 I-League final, Harsh was unable to continue with the Goan club as an opportunity in the national team setup motioned to him. He was selected on his second attempt.
“I first gave tryouts for the Junior National Team in 2017 but was not selected. However, the next time (the following year) I was among the chosen players and was part of the setting up the AIFF Academy in Bhubaneswar (Odisha). I stayed there for a year and a half and I learned a lot as a player during that time, “he recalls.
Enter the international scene
While at the AIFF Academy, Harsh participated in various national and international competitions and was also part of several exhibition tours. He competed in the 2018 SAFF U-15 Championship in Nepal where he scored against Bangladesh from around 30 meters. He also took part in an exhibition trip to the United Arab Emirates before competing in the 2019 Tournament of Future Champions in South Africa and in the same year made another tour of Malaysia with the India Colts.
“The visibility we got was amazing and the chance to play against high quality teams was amazing. The facilities we had in Bhubaneswar were top class and we really grew as players during our time there and have learned to compete at a higher level, ”Patre professed.
What’s next for Harsh?
Now with the establishment of the Indian Arrows in I-League, the midfielder has cast his eyes on the preparations of the teams for the qualifiers of the AFC U-19 2022. Harsh is known for his shots from distance, his deliveries of dead balls and his control of the ball in midfield.
“Harsh has great vision, creativity in passing and a good read on the game,” Derryl D’souza (GFDC residential coach) once remarked.
This season he has already scored against TRAU, although he came in a 5-1 loss and also scored in the SAFF U15 Championship.
The Arrows started their current season with an appearance in the IFA 2020 Shield where they were ousted from the group stage after a 1-1 draw against Southern Samity and a 0-2 loss to eventual finalists George Telegraph. In the current I-League, the team has seven points in 12 games and has recorded impressive results.
It should be noted that this is a whole new batch of players with no previous experience against the big players in the I-League. They have had two wins so far – a 1-0 win over Mohammedan Sporting in addition to a 3-0 beating from NEROCA where Harsh scored a one-goal peach from a direct free kick.
“I want to keep improving from here. The Indian Arrows are a great platform for young players like me and I want to make the most of this opportunity. My ambition is to contribute for the team in the 2022 AFC U-19 playoffs that we are preparing for. Personally, I want to play for a top club in the near future and in the long term, fulfill my dream of playing for the senior national team, ”Patre signed.