Melroy Assisi once stood a dejected figure. Having dedicated his life to football, honing his skills, and then rejected at the Maharashtra state trials twice, he was demotivated. That was just the incentive he needed - the low of rejection spurred him on while riding his self-belief, and eventually landed him a spot in the State team and consequently, the Youth I-League series.
Only in his teen years, Melroy was on the verge of quitting football. As a senior player, he just played one match in an All India University tournament that comprised eight to ten games.
“I was demotivated to the extent that I did not attend the Santosh Trophy trials as well!” he adds. “If I don’t get a start in three to four games on a trot, I feel I don’t deserve it. Because, if I am not good enough to be in a relatively smaller team, how am I going to go ahead and go big?
“But the next day, when I wake up, I am alright, because I know I am here for a reason and that is to play top flight football,” says Melroy, accrediting his mentor Alex Ambrose, who is Mumbai City FC’s assistant coach.
The chase of his dream began when his passion for football blossomed on the field while playing for St Augustine’s High School in Vasai in 2010. From there, he went on to play the Sub Junior Nationals for Maharashtra in 2013.
He kickstarted his professional career playing for Maharashtra and went on to represent Mumbai FC in the Youth I-League between 2013 and 2017. He was also seen at the prestigious Vile Parle Premier League and Pallava League. Melroy currently plays for Union Bank of India, a team in the Elite Division League of Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA).
While he stacked his achievements, which includes being awarded the Golden Ball at the RFYS football tournament in Mumbai, Melroy acknowledges that it wasn’t something that he would have been able to garner solo.
“My mom has helped me the most,” says the 19-year-old. “From waking me up early in the morning to supporting me even when I used to miss my exams to play matches, my mom was completely up for it!
“When I was young, in about fifth or sixth grade, she used to accompany me for my matches in what were far off places for us in Mumbai, like Bandra or Churchgate,” reminisces Melroy.
Rudolph Coutinho, his childhood coach, has also been instrumental in his development, particularly to stay clear of the injuries that plagued him early in his playing days.
“(Coutinho) trains me personally; he calls me to the beach and offers individual training, helping me improve my fitness,” he points out. “I started concentrating more on my fitness and taking adequate rest. I also began maintaining a diet, stopped playing at private tournaments or random places, and injuries started decreasing with time.”
Having confidence in himself, Melroy Assisi works hard to accomplish his dreams and stand out in the crowd.
“Now that I have played the Mumbai Elite division football, I would like to move out of Mumbai and seek opportunities in the second division I-league or an ISL reserve team,” says Melroy, talking about his immediate plans.
Melroy toils on the field to fulfil one dream every Indian footballer holds - to play in the FIFA World Cup. “The number of Asian teams allowed to participate in the FIFA World Cup is going to be increased to eight teams. India is currently 11th in Asia. If we push harder, we could assure ourselves a spot in the 2026 FIFA World Cup and hopefully, I can be a part of the Indian Football Team,” concludes Melroy.