Soccer school success in Hong Kong

Youngsters from the Chelsea FC Hong Kong Soccer School enjoyed a weekend to remember both on and off the pitch at the annual Soccer Sevens tournament held in the city-state earlier this month.

The under-9s and under-12s teams representing our first Soccer School in Asia - launched in December 2009 - were both victorious in the Plate competition last weekend, having previously qualified for finals day with success a week earlier.

Prior to their respective finals the youngsters also met a number of our players who featured in our recent successes at Under-21 and Under-18 level including Jamal Blackman, Islam Feruz, Charlie Colkett and Kasey Palmer, who were in attendance for the main tournament.

The meeting was part of Chelsea's Here to Play, Here to Stay initiative which ensures a long-term commitment to our global communities and uses the power of sport to educate and inspire.

Meeting the Chelsea Academy contingent appeared to have a positive impact on the CSSHK youngsters with the U12s going on to beat the Canadian International School 2-0 in their Plate final and the U9s edging out Kowloon Cricket Club 1-0 in their final.

'I've got to say thanks to the Academy players and the staff for taking the time out to say hello and meet our players,' said senior development officer for Asia Dave Stewart, who was in attendance in Hong Kong.

'All the children were very excited to meet the future stars of Chelsea and it highlights the club's continued support to the area as part of the Here to Play, Here to Stay ethos.'

The youngsters from the Hong Kong Soccer School are no strangers to Chelsea with a group recently visiting Cobham at Easter ahead of a visit to Spain and Portugal or the Football Mundialito Tournament.

Plans are also afoot for 20-30 of the schools' pupils to spend a week at Cobham working and training with the UK-based Chelsea Foundation coaches this August in what has now become an annual event.

'The visits to Cobham are unique to Chelsea Soccer Schools,' added Stewart. 'We've had kids visiting for the past four years and it is an opportunity they couldn't get elsewhere, once again highlighting the club's long-term commitment to the region.

'Some of the children also spent time over in the UK at Easter. They were playing in a tournament in Europe but on Easter Monday spent the day at Cobham training with Foundation coaches.

'It was an amazing experience for all involved and hugely beneficial for their development.'