Indian Super League (ISL) team Mumbai City FC have announced that defender Hmingthanmawia Ralte, known as Valpuia, has signed a new contract with the club, extending his stay with the Islanders until the end of the 2026-27 season.

Valpuia, a Mizoram native, joined the club in 2019 and has been a reliable player ever since. He was a part of the team in the 2020-21 historic season, winning both the ISL League Winners' Shield and the ISL Cup.

Starting his football journey at age 8, Valpuia rose at Aizawl FC. His performances caught the attention of Mumbai City FC, who signed him in June 2019. During the 2022-23 season, he was loaned to Roundglass Punjab (now Punjab FC), where he became a regular starter and helped secure the club's promotion to the ISL.

Upon his return, Coach Petr Kratky trusted him with more opportunities, which paid off when Valpuia scored his first goal for Mumbai City FC against Chennaiyin FC, securing a spot in the Kalinga Super Cup semi-finals.

Valpuia, a versatile defender, very comfortable at right back, has made 23 appearances for Mumbai City FC, with 17 being in the ISL. His composed ball-playing ability and well-timed passes have contributed to an impressive 81% passing accuracy in the league. With his quick feet and strong defensive skills, he has won 52 duels and made 52 ball recoveries in the ISL. He also played an integral role in last season's campaign, helping the club secure second place in the league and win its second ISL Cup.

Speaking on the occasion Valpuia said:

“I am delighted to extend my stay with the club for the next three years. The club has played an instrumental role in my growth, both as a person and a player. The staff, teammates, and coaches have consistently helped me improve my game and shown unwavering trust in my abilities. I am excited and motivated to contribute even more to the club during my extended stay.”

Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky said:

“Valpuia is one of the best talents at our club. He dedicates a significant amount of time to training and developing his skills, and I am consistently impressed with his performance on the field. His commitment to improvement and his work ethic are commendable. I am thrilled that he has chosen to extend his stay with us, as I am confident his contributions will be crucial in helping us achieve our goals.”

Kerala Blasters FC sign young goalkeeper Som Kumar

Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters FC roped in young Indian goalkeeper Som Kumar. The 19-year-old has penned a long four-year deal with the Blasters, which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2027-28 season.

Born in Bengaluru, Kumar began his football journey at a young age. His potential was quickly recognized, leading to stints at Boca Juniors Academy and BYFL Academy. His European adventure started in 2020 with NK Bravo in Slovenia, where he showcased his talents in an underage summer tournament in Italy, most notably against Bologna U17 where he came to prominence with a dynamic performance in front of the nets.

Kumar’s next move was a loan spell at NextGen Liga Club NK Krka, where he helped the U17 team secure a third place in the league. His consistent performances earned him spots in both NK Bravo and NK Krka’s U19 teams, eventually leading to his contract with Slovenian first-division side NK Olimpija Ljubljana, in February 2023. Kumar’s abilities and determination to succeed soon earned him a regular starting role at the club, culminating in his selection for the UEFA European Under-19 Championship squad.

His young international career has been equally impressive. A former member of India’s U16 and U17 teams, he made significant contributions during the India U16 team’s tour to the UAE in 2021. He then played a crucial role in the India U20 team’s success at the 2022 SAFF U-20 Championship in Odisha, where his performance in the semi-final against the Maldives and the final against Bangladesh earned him the Best Goalkeeper award for the tournament.

In 2023, Kumar was part of the squad for the AFC U-20 Asian Cup qualifiers in Kuwait and later contributed to India’s victorious campaign at the 2023 SAFF U-19 Championship in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Speaking on the occasion, Sporting Director Karolis Skinkys said:

“Without intention to create any pressure on him, but I can positively say that Som is one of the highest potential players in his generation. I’m happy he believed in the Kerala Blasters project and decided to come back from abroad. Som has the right basics of football, a correct mindset and he’s very mature for his age. All these points makes me believe that he can learn every day and have a bright future in KBFC.”

An elated Som Kumar said:

“I am excited to join Kerala Blasters and look forward to contributing to the team. This is a great opportunity for me to grow as a player and I am eager to give my best for the club and its passionate fans.”

Som Kumar becomes the first signing of the club this summer. The Blasters previously announced contract extensions of defender Naocha Singh and Club captain Adrian Luna.

Som, despite his young age, brings with him a wealth of experience from both domestic and international youth competitions. His signing is expected to further strengthen the team’s goalkeeping unit, which has progressed well under the guidance of Goalkeeping Coach Slaven Progovecki over the last few seasons.