Asian Star to benefit boys and girls

Asian Star returns next month and long-term supporter Zesh Rehman, the first British Asian to play in the Premier League, believes the inclusion of girls shows the event is going from strength to strength as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

The first of its kind undertaken by a professional football club, Asian Star is designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game and will return for a 10th successive year on Sunday 20 May and this season, for the first time, girls will also be invited to apply and enjoy the day.

For the second successive year the fun, engaging and free event will be staged at Stamford Bridge with players who excel be offered a year-long placement at one of our Foundation Development Centres, while girls who impress will be invited for a trial at our Girls Regional Talent Centre.

Rehman - who currently plies his trade with Hong Kong Premier League club Southern, having previously played for Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Bradford – first got involved with Asian Star in 2009 and has attended many previous events, including last year’s at the Bridge.

And while he admits he doubted Asian Star would still be running in 2018 he is delighted to see it continue to blossom and serve the community so positively.

‘I must admit when I first got involved in 2009 I doubted we would still be looking forward to the competition in 2018!’ said the defender, pictured top right with Tore Andre Flo. 

‘There have been lots of other similar initiatives which have fizzled out but credit to Chelsea and everyone involved as Asian Star is only getting bigger and better with each year.

‘This year girls are a part of the day and that is great news.  Staying healthy and exercising is so important and the girls and boys attending will benefit from the day and hopefully stay involved in football.

‘It is a big step in the right direction and something parents and children can embrace.’

Having been launched in 2009, last year was the first time the event was held at Stamford Bridge, attracting close to 400 youngsters and parents.

Those attending competing in a series of matches and tests to examine speed, skill and ability, and Rehman believes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at the home of Chelsea FC is one any budding young footballer should grab with both hands.

He added: ‘It was a great day at the Bridge last year and I would urge all youngsters eligible to attend. 

‘It is a day to be enjoyed so go along and enjoy yourself.  Don’t start thinking about the pressure to do well as football is about having fun first and foremost and any other success will follow from that.’

Click here to book your place at this year’s Asian Star.