Family has been an integral part of any athlete's career, and Indian footballer Nongdamba Naorem is no exception.

The winger, who currently plies his trade for Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) is trying to make a name for himself.

Born in Manipur, Naorem came through the ranks of the Minerva Punjab FC academy before being acquired by the Indian Arrows. He then joined Kerala Blasters FC reserve squad before being promoted to the first team during the 2020-21 season.
He later went on to represent Mohun Bagan Super Giant and FC Goa before signing for Jamshedpur FC.

Mahesh has also donned the colours of the national team at the youth level. However, the biggest moment of his career was when he was selected in the Indian squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017.

Reflecting on his football career, Naorem revealed how family has played a crucial role in shaping him as a player, especially his father.

Naorem's family forms a close-knit unit, consisting of seven members, including his grandmother, parents, and three sisters, creating a dynamic and supportive structure.

Initially hesitant to support Naorem's decision to pursue football, his family eventually rallied behind him.

"When I first told my family about starting my football career, everyone was shocked, including my relatives. However, they began to support me when I went to the academy for training," he said in an interview with Jamshedpur FC.

His father, in particular, emerged as the most important figure in his life, leaving a positive impact on his decisions and actions. Naorem describes his father as "the most influential person" for him and his family.

“I think the most influential person in my life has been my dad, professionally and personally. Not only for me but for my whole family, my dad has been the most influential person,” he stated.

Despite his father's initial skepticism about his football career, he later advised Naorem to pursue his dreams with utmost effort and persistence.

Naorem reflected, "When I was about to start my career in football, he didn't want it at first. But he told me, whatever career you start, don't just start for the namesake; if you are trying for it, give your 100 percent in whatever you are doing.”

This advice played a crucial role in shaping Naorem's approach to life and his burgeoning football career.

Naorem's ultimate dream is to represent the senior national team, despite having played in the youth teams at various levels.

He expressed, “My football dream would be playing for the national team. I have played in the U-17, U-19, U-20, and U-21 levels, but for me, my football dream is to represent the (senior) national team — that is my actual dream.”

His father emphasised the pride of playing for the national team, stating that while club football is significant, representing the country is the proudest moment for any athlete.

Naorem shares the sentiment, saying, “My dad told me if you play for any club, it doesn't matter unless you can represent your country. That is (and will be) the proudest moment for them and also for me.”

Naorem's footballing journey has been profoundly influenced by his family, particularly his father's guidance. His dreams and aspirations have been moulded by his family's support, consistently propelling him to become the best version of himself on the football field.