For a committed football fan, nothing could perhaps be bigger!

I will be going to Russia next month for about six weeks to be a volunteer for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018!

In 2010, I started following the sport. In 2014, I dreamt of attending the FWC in Brazil and now in 2018 I am going to be part of the tournament as part of the organising committee. This will be like living in a dreamland.

It has taken a lot of patience and hard work for me to become part of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) volunteers. In August 2016, my sister told me that she had seen a post of Facebook which said that the LOC was looking for volunteers for the World Cup to be held in Russia in June-July 2018. I immediately got working on it and told some of my friends too. Most of them were casual about it but nothing could stop me from trying. I opened the link and followed the instructions. First I had to create an account on the FIFA volunteer portal on the FIFA website. There I had to fill in all my details and also the reasons why I wanted to be a part of the tournament. Then I had to wait till January 2017 to find out that my application was accepted and then I had to appear for a one-hour online English examination.

On the 7th December 2017, I was at the Delhi airport to take a flight to Mumbai. I was really excited as I was going there to try and meet the Liverpool FC legends. An event, LFC World, was happening at High Street Phoenix Mall where four legends from Liverpool FC were scheduled to come and interact with fans and media. I was waiting for the security clearance at the airport when I received and interesting email. I scrolled down, past what I could see, and it confirmed that I had been selected as a volunteer.

A few interviews followed, and during the conversations, I chose to be part of media operations. I am excited about the opportunity and hope it will be a rewarding experience.

Loving football did not come naturally to me. Growing up in India’s capital, cricket was my first love, like most Indian males. But I changed to being a football lover sometime while I was watching the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.

It was summer break of 2010 and everyone in the school was talking about the world cup. So, I decided to watch it and see what the hype was all about. I used to play football in school but I hardly use to follow the sport.

During the tournament, I grew fond of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. Incidentally, they were both playing for Liverpool FC at the time. Then came the defining moment, which converted me into a football fan for life.

A match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC on September 19, 2010 is etched in my mind. One of my closest friends, who I grew up with and used to go to school with, was a big MUFC supporter. For that particular match, a classmate of mine asked me which team I was rooting for in the match. “I don’t care. I like the Liverpool players. And I like MUFC because my best friend is a supporter,” I replied.

“You call yourself a football fan? You don’t even know that they are arch rivals!” was the retort.

That night Liverpool lost 2-3. After the full time whistle, I knew that I wanted Liverpool to win. I was so upset at the result and at the same time I knew that some part of me had got connected to the club. It was an away game and the atmosphere which the LFC fans created was amazing, they were outnumbered and their team lost, but still they sang their hearts out. That match, those 90 mins, turned me into a Liverpool FC supporter.

My love for the club multiplied as time went by and in December 2012 I got a tattoo of the club’s crest on my right forearm.


Later when I was in college, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil was happening. I was planning on to Brazil to see some of the matches with my best friend. But as students, we found it too expensive. So we dropped the idea. But during the summer of 2014, I was on a nine-city tour of the US with my family when I learnt that the Liverpool team was going to be in Boston for a week and were going to play a friendly at Fenway Park. I decided to extend my stay and watch them in action. During the team’s visit, I managed to meet all of the team members and staff. I showed my tattoo to the players and Daniel Sturridge took a picture and posted it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

His posts were shared by Liverpool fans and went viral. Suddenly I had become a star of sorts! The Boston Globe contacted me and wrote about it, and I was on cloud nine! Football had everything to do with the state I was in.

After completing college, I started working for one of the ‘Big Four’ consulting companies. But I always wanted to work in the sports industry. In July 2016, I started talking to the Delhi Dynamos, one of the football clubs that plays in the Indian Super League (ISL), to join them. I finally did. During the next edition of the tournament, I was back with Delhi Dynamos in November 2017. I also worked for the LOC U17 FIFA World Cup in the marketing team when it happened in India in 2017.

On June 4, I leave for Russia to be part of the LOC volunteers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Over the last eight years, the novice in me has turned into a diehard football fan. With the new experience, I hope to learn more and grow my love for the sport.

(Coca-Cola is the official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup)