FC Phoenix

The story of the boys who came from the bench and became one of the top teams in the city.

About The Team

Kick Off!

It all started in November 2015 for Kharkiv’s football mad kids. Up till then things hadn’t been so great for them - in the sports school they went to they regularly sat out matches on the benches. It was clear none of them would be the next Messi, and the guys with more potential - in the trainers view - got the chance to shine instead.

But the boys’ parents had other ideas. They couldn’t stand by and watch their children lose interest in sport at such a young age, seeing their confidence suffer, and knowing all the damage that could do to their future success and happiness. So the mums and dads joined forces, and the children’s football club “Phoenix” came into being. Its bold motto: “Everyone can be a hero!”

Phoenix made its debut in the Kharkiv Futsal Cup in November 2015 - at that stage it didn’t have a uniform, name, or training ground. That tournament has a special place in the team’s history!

Who Teaches What

The guys began to improve their skills under the guidance of mentors - Serhiy Hrytsenko and Yurii Vashchenko. They’d been successful futsal players in the past, but they had no coaching experience. 

The coaches and parents had some tough tasks ahead of them - they had to raise the team’s spirits, turn the guys from the “bench” into successful sportsmen, as well as rebuilding their confidence and drive. That way they could finally let the boys enjoy the taste of victory.


The first time the team played under the name ‘Phoenix', and won the blitz tournament 'Christmas Cup’, was in 2015.

"All this time, a psychologist was working with the boys. For me and Yurii this was school too! We had a lot to learn. As the guys were awarded the cup of the first championship they won, we were getting 'category C trainer' certificates. To start off with, we learnt to play mindfully. Over time, the children began to see the pattern of the game and its tactics. It was important to build the team and the team spirit. A week's training schedule would contain three two-hour sessions on football, and two - on gymnastics, track-and -field and swimming. It took us six months to get discipline right."

Serhiy Hrytsenko,


Our Friends
Plarium Ukraine - a well-established international IT-company - took on the Phoenix project, and now supports it. It was impressed by the persistence and determination shown by the boys, as well as how committed their parents and coaches were to their success. 

Plarium Ukraine is always happy to welcome the boys: to celebrate victories, watch motivational films, and chat about plans for the team.
"Anyone can be a hero” is a slogan and idea very close to our hearts. Phoenix's parents believed in their boys and supported them every minute of the day, standing by them through a long series of defeats and failures.

And now they can prove - to their children, and to those who have been following this project closely - that anything can be achieved by believing in yourself, in your dreams, and by working long and hard.”

Olexander Borysov,
Director Plarium Ukraine
The first Plarium Ukraine Cup was held in 2016 and was dedicated to the memory of the famous Kharkiv sports journalist Borys Lanevsky. The tournament was introduced by Phoenix and has become a regular fixture.
The Breakthrough
The boys trained non-stop - no holidays or days off - slacking was out of the question. Athletics and swimming. Summer camp. Sessions with a psychologist. As their friends raced about on bikes in the school holidays, the Phoenix boys worked on their kick in the gym. But the result was a breakthrough in the quality of their game. The second Plarium Ukraine Cup in memory of Boris Lanevsky - with sixteen teams taking part - ended in Phoenix’s triumph. Their first victory in a tournament of that scale.
“A record number of spectators - 245 - watched the dramatic final duel between Phoenix and ’Volna’ Sports School.

I really enjoyed watching your game. I wish you good luck and may you become at least as successful as I was, and get 40 thousand spectators cheering you on in our arena”.

Alexander Goryainov,
Head coach of ‘Metalist 1925’
In Autumn 2017, Phoenix  won the Kharkiv Cup for the first time.
Football is our Way of Life
Phoenix is more than a sports team. It’s a community where parents, coaches, and our partners unite around the interests of children. We can afford something many sports schools can’t. The quality of the process is more important to us than the result. 
A key aspect of our methodology is that trainers should achieve results only with the Phoenix children, and no others. This makes the task much more difficult. But it means coaches develop alongside the children, developing new training programmes, and looking for new ways to approach the training process, and the process of education. For us, the way we do things is as important as the actual results on the pitch.

Our aim was to create a small-scale Champions League for children who dream of becoming football stars. With an attractively staged draw of the fixtures. Where there is video of all the matches, with commentary. Where the children give post-match interviews. Where there’s beautiful photography and printed programmes to take home. 
There is a display of all sorts of performance statistics, which many more famous tournaments would envy. And all this appears on the website on the day of the match.
As well as all of that, these tournaments encourage a friendly, warm atmosphere between children from different teams, and their parents and coaches. Here all children receive a prize, and there are virtually no losers. Here everyone understands they are working towards one result - creating a great football festival for children.
Phoenix’s Social Responsibility
Phoenix promotes other values too, the children are encouraged to support others from different backgrounds, as well as take personal responsibility for themselves. A love of football’s already brought together Phoenix and the team from the Parostok special school in the town of Kupyansk for children with learning disabilities. 

They visit each other regularly, and Phoenix brings gifts. They practice and play matches together. Adults help, encourage and support from the sidelines. The friendship between these two teams shows that sport is about far more than practice and victories. It’s about being kind and caring too.
Kharkiv Cup Winners!
In Autumn 2017 Phoenix achieved its first significant success - the team won the Kharkiv Futsal Cup. In the final, the boys once again met their old rivals and friends from the Volna Youth Sports School.
International Experience
In May 2018 Phoenix travelled to Nuremberg in Germany, invited by SC Eckenhaid, with the trip supported by the International Department of Nuremberg City Hall and Plarium Ukraine.

There was a new experience waiting for them there - taking part in a big football tournament organised by SC Eckenhaid.

The boys played excellently, and won the bronze. More importantly than that though, the guys from the two teams spent time together on and off the pitch, they became friends and agreed to meet up again, which they did three months later.
In December 2019 Phoenix won its first international trophy, the Hamburg International Cup. The team didn’t miss one single goal in the whole tournament. In both of the decisive matches - the semi-final against Rissener SV, and the final against Rahlstedter SC - the guys won on the penalty shoot-out. Phoenix’s Vladimir Lazeba was nominated best goalkeeper of the tournament!

A day later, the boys put the silver medals they won in the Christmas tournament into the cup they’d won the day before.
Small But Perfectly Formed
Three years after the birth of Phoenix senior, we thought why not welcome really little kids into our friendly football family? That is when we opened our doors to five year old fanatics. We took on those who’d already started to love football and prefer it to other outdoor activities.

'Small, but daring' would be a great way to describe our young, up and coming players. Today they excel as far as they can on the training field, in football practice, gymnastics and athletics. They learn quickly and steadily - to kick at the goal, to catch the ball, and to pass. And most importantly - they are learning the best qualities of a good football player - endurance, teamwork, perseverance and determination. Endurance is still tricky for them because they’re still so small, but they have huge enthusiasm and aim to become even better than the main Phoenix team!
One of the Best in Ukraine
For the first time, Phoenix qualified for the final part of the Championship of Ukraine. It confidently won its qualifying group, and then beat Dnipro Olimpia Dnepr in playoffs.

Playing against the best teams of the national championship, Phoenix gained more experience than points. But the boys’ mood and fighting spirit meant they became one of the strongest teams in the Championship of Ukraine in their very first season!
Following on from this success in the Championship, six Phoenix players were called up to take part in the Eastern Conference, to play in the Conference Cup in Zaporozhe in April 2019.

A year later, Phoenix celebrated its biggest success to date - they won the Ukrainian Cup U14!
In the final the boys beat their old rivals Olimpia-Dnipro (Dnipro). Our Ivan Konkov was chosen the best player in the Cup of Ukraine, and Artyom Shevchenko was awarded the prize of best player in Phoenix.
Our Plans
Phoenix dreams of starting a school for children who live and breathe football, but can’t find a place in other clubs. We think they can learn from our experience, and be successful whatever they choose to do.