(Last Updated on : 07/03/2016)
A product of the renowned Tata Football Academy (TFA), Subrata was a regular member of Indias age-group team right from Under-16 to Under-20 level. After graduating from TFA in 2004, Subrata joined Mohun Bagan
and established himself as a first-team regular there despite being only 18. He spent three seasons with the green-and-maroon brigade, and also impressed mightily with the India Under-23 side. His most notable contribution was winning a penalty shootout against Myanmar in the preliminary round of the 2008 Olympic qualifiers.
Early Life of Subrata Pal
Subrata Pal was born on 24th November 1986 at the region of Sodepur in West Bengal
. From 2002 to 2004, he had been trained in the Tata Football Academy. It is here that his potential to be a great goalkeeper had been discovered.
Club Career of Subrata Pal
Subrata Pal had made his senior appearance in football with Mohun Bagan FC with whom he had signed a contract in 2004. However, on 5th December, 2004 he was involved in a collision with Christiano Junior (forward of Dempo
) leading to the death of the latter. That was his sole appearance for him.
In the year 2007, after he ended his contract with Mohun Bagan, he had signed a deal with their local rivals East Bengal
. For this club, he had made 31 appearances. He was adjudged the I-League
's best goalkeeper in 2007 for his outstanding shot-stopping abilities, an example of which was in East Bengal's Federation Cup
winning campaign of 2007, resulting in his team qualifying for the AFC Cup 2008.
From the 2009-10 season, Subrata joined the Pune FC
. He had made 40 appearances for this club with whom he had stayed till 2012. On May 2012, Pal had signed a contract with Prayag United
. He made his debut for the club on 7th October 2012 against Air India
at the Salt Lake Stadium
, a match Prayag won 5-1.
In the year 2013, Pal was signed by Rangdajied United of the I-League they agreed to sign Pal along with fellow IMG-Reliance contracted players Gouramangi Singh
, Sandesh Jhingan, Manandeep Singh, and Tomba Singh. He made his debut in the I-League on 22nd November 2013 against Shillong Lajong
at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
in which he played the whole match.
Subrata was drafted in by ISL club Mumbai City FC
during the 2014 edition of the league and was the first choice keeper for his team, appearing 14 times in the league format. Subrata's performance was notable but not enough to help his team into the semi-finals. Mumbai City had loaned out Pal in the year 2015 to Salgaocar
. In the year 2016, he has been loaned out again to DSK Shivajians.
International Career of Subrata Pal
Subratas consistency at club level and for the India youth sides earned him a call-up to the Indian senior team. Indias head coach Bob Houghton made him the first-choice keeper during the 2007 Nehru Cup
which India went on to win in New Delhi
. In 2008, Subrata helped India win the AFC Challenge Cup and qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup. Subrata was outstanding for club and country in 2009, with the highlight being his excellent performance in the Nehru Cup final which India won by beating Syria on penalties. Subrata made three crucial saves in the shootout and went on to win the AIFF
Player of the Year Award in 2009. He became the first custodian to win that accolade. India lost all three of their matches in the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar, but Subrata was praised by the international media for his super-human performances against some of the best teams in the continent like Australia, Bahrain and South Korea. His best display came in the 4-1 defeat against South Korea as he produced an incredible tally of 16 saves. After that match, the South Korean media gave him the nickname Spiderman.
India conceded 13 goals in three games but would have surely let in more had Subrata not been in goal. Later that year, Subrata captained India for the first time in the 1-1 draw with Turkmenistan in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers.
The 2011-12 campaign proved to be a difficult season for Subrata as he suffered a nasty injury while playing for Pune
in the Federation Cup. He missed the majority of that season, including various international tournaments like the 2011 SAFF Championship and the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. Despite heavy competition from Karanjit Singh and Sandip Nandy, Subrata remained Indias number one at international level. His performances saw India finish runners-up in the 2013 SAFF Championship in Nepal.
He was named the captain of the Indian national football team by coach Stephen Constantine. On 11th March 2015 under his captaincy the team reached the second round after defeating Nepal on aggregate of 2-0 on the first round of qualification.
Subrata Pal in Foreign Leagues
While being on contract with IMG-Reliance, Subrata had a training-cum-trial stint at Denmarks FC Vestsjaelland, a team playing in Denmarks top tier, the Danish Superliga. Subrata returned to India to play for Shillong club Rangdajied United in the I-League, but was offered a six-month contract by Vestsjaelland in November 2013. Subrata completed the loan move to Vestsjaelland from IMG-Reliance in January 2014 and became only the third Indian footballer since independence to ply his trade abroad. Despite signing on as member of the squad, he did not make any appearance for the first team and only appeared with the reserve squad.
Personal Life of Subrata Pal
Subrata lives with his family in Sodepur (Kolkata). Subrata is married to Debasmita Mukherjee Paul; the daughter of ex-Indian goalkeeper Debashish Mukherjee since 2012. Debasmita is a Ph.D Scholar of Calcutta University
National Statistics of Subrata Pal
Awards and Accolades of Subrata Pal
In 2015, Subrata Paul was nominated for the Times of India Sports Awards
along with the likes of Sunil Chhetri
, Syed Rahim Nabi
, Bala Devi