Monday 25 March 2013
Chelsea have announced the date for the fifth edition of Asian Star. The initiative, which is the first by a professional football club to give a boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game, will take place at the club's Cobham training ground on 6 May.
The Asian Star programme is for boys in the under-9 to under-12 age groups. It is open to all players from all Asian backgrounds with a priority given to those with South-Asian heritages.
Last year almost 400 young players competed to win a season-long placement at Chelsea's Football Development Centre. Five former winners have gone on to play in professional club academies, including Sam Khan who has signed for Birmingham City, and Kai Bhuller went on to play for Norwich City within their academy programme before going to play in the United Arab Emirates.
Players are judged on a series of matches and tests designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to examine speed, skill and ability. As well as the tests, Chelsea will host workshops to inspire and inform parents and aspiring coaches.
"It's a great initiative," Raj Bhullar, Kai's father, told the Chelsea website. “It provides an opportunity for children to experience the workings, facilities and coaching at a professional football club. For Kai, it provided a platform and installed and self-belief that remains with him today."
This year Chelsea's Asian Star had joined forces with Sporting Equals, which promotes greater involvement in sport by all communities that are disengaged. "Chelsea has shown their commitment to finding players from South Asian backgrounds, opening up their youth programmes to the whole community when scouting for new talent," said Arun Kang, chief executive officer of Sporting Equals.
Ahead of 6 May, Sporting Equals and Chelsea will hold a special Asian Star training day to put 100 young players through their paces at Three Bridges Primary School, in Southall, on Sunday 14 April. To register for this year's event please visit www.chelseafc.com/asianstar.