By Tanay Apte
AIFF Media Team
KOLKATA: Sumeet Passi has been around in Indian Football for almost a decade now so it is easy to forget that he is still just 27 years old. The Haryana-born lad has traversed through the leagues and currently plies his trade at RoundGlass Punjab FC in the Hero I-League.
“Playing for RoundGlass Punjab FC is a special and unique feeling. Having spent my formative years as a footballer in Chandigarh, I do feel a strong emotional attachment to Punjab. It is an honour for me to represent this club and I sincerely hope we will make our fans proud and inspire them with our performance,” said Passi.
The Indian international started off his career with the Arrows, and Passi acknowledged the crucial role the team played at that stage of his career.
“The Arrows were my first team at the professional level and looking back, I feel it played a key role in my development. At such a young age, we got the opportunity to play and gain valuable game-time against the best teams and players in the country – both Indian and foreign,” he said.
“There are so many of us from that Arrows batch who have gone on to play for various top clubs as well as the Senior National Team. In the last few years, we have seen many talented players come through the Indian Arrows setup and shine on the big stage, which shows the positive impact the project has made,” he added.
Passi’s father, Jai Prakash, played football for Railways and was integral in helping his son take up the game at an early age. Passi Jr. went on to captain the Chandigarh U-14 team in the National School Games of 2007.
“Sport has always been an integral part of my life since childhood, and it was all because of my dad. Becoming a professional footballer was a dream we saw together,” recalled Passi.
“As a young kid, I used to watch him play football and was always fascinated by it, which inspired me to start playing at an early age. I feel fortunate that I could make our dream come true by carving out a career in the sport we have loved so dearly and representing my country in it as well,” he added.
At RoundGlass Punjab, Passi is surrounded by Indian football stalwarts like C.K. Vineeth, Rino Anto and Robin Singh not to mention two-time Hero I-League winning coach Ashley Westwood.
“I see each day as an opportunity to learn something new. Working alongside such talented teammates day in and day out helps me improve immensely. My experience has been immensely fulfilling and I want to continue growing as a professional player,” he said.
“We are looking forward to a memorable season ahead under his (Westwood’s) guidance. He brings a winning mentality and imbibes it in every member of his team. He motivates us and pushes our limits each day, on and off the field, which is making us better players. All of us are confident and excited for the campaign’s restart and determined to put our best foot forward,” he concluded.