Asian artist Jaz Dhami, will be supporting Chelsea Football Clubs groundbreaking Search for an Asian Star project this year, in a bid to drum up support for the Asian community to get involved.
Last year, two Asian Stars have now gone on to sign for professional clubs and this year Chelsea will be offering six lucky players the chance to win a week-long trial at Chelsea football Clubs world famous Academy.
This year, the project is bigger and better, with Chelsea FC teaming up with the Asian Media Group and Kick It Out as well as Jaz Dhami to ensure that everyone is aware of the project which is the first of its kind ever to be undertaken by a professional football club, designed to give a much needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game.
Jaz Dhami said “I have been working very closely with a number of sporting bodies in encouraging more Asians to get involved in football as I want to help break down boundaries and encourage more Asians to get involved in the game’
Jaz added “I am fully in support of Chelsea Football Clubs Search for an Asian Star Campaign as it is a fantastic initiative that not only gives young Asians a chance to break into professional football, but also provides a platform to lift awareness of football within the Asian community which I feel is important in trying to get more Asian kids involved in the game. I will be attending the tournaments which will take place over the bank holiday weekend to offer my encouragement and support to this extremely proactive project”
The tournament will take place on the second May Bank Holiday weekend (29-31) for players from Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi backgrounds aged eight to 13-years-old.
Participants will be judged on a series of matches and tests specifically designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to examine speed, skill and ability.
One player from each age group will be selected for a week’s training with the Chelsea Academy squads during the summer with any player meeting the required standard being offered the chance to be signed by the Blues.
Last year’s initiative saw 350 young people attending the Cobham training ground and the three winning players training and turning out for Chelsea teams during the summer. Two of last year’s winners have since gone to be signed by Leyton Orient and Southend.
‘Last year was a massive success with two of the boys going from Sunday League football to play for professional clubs,’ said Simon Taylor, Chelsea’s head of CSR. ‘We want this year’s tournament to be bigger and better so we have doubled the amount of age groups and trials on offer.
‘The scheme is not just about finding the next Anelka, Drogba or Lampard, it is about breaking down barriers, showing Asian players that opportunities at all levels of the game do exist and encouraging them to maximise their potential.’
Chelsea Football Club will also be inviting managers, coaches and scouts from clubs at all levels of the game to identify talented youngsters and information will also be on hand for Asian players to find clubs in their area.
Piara Powar, Director of Kick It Out, added: ‘We fully endorse the Search for an Asian Star initiative. The outcomes from 2009 demonstrate how a project like this can break down stereotypes, and give genuine opportunities in the professional game for talented young Asian players.
Applications are now open but places are limited for each day. To register for the trials please visit the Chelsea website.
For further information please visit http://www.chelseafc.com/page/AsianSoccerStar