Asian Star returns next month and long-term supporter Zesh Rehman, the first British Asian to play in the Premier League, has urged youngsters interested in football to sign up for the award-winning initiative.
The programme, the first of its kind undertaken by a professional football club, is designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game with this year’s event taking place at Stamford Bridge on Saturday May 18
Asian Star is a fun and free event which gives the chance for girls and boys aged nine to 12 to showcase their football skills at the Bridge. Players who excel on the day are offered a year-long placement at one of Chelsea’s Football Development Centres, while girls who impress will be invited for a trial at the Girls Regional Talent Centre.
Rehman, who currently plies his trade in the Hong Kong Premier League having previously played for Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Bradford, believes next month’s event is a huge opportunity for any budding Asian footballer.
A regular at the event, Rehman – who also runs the Zesh Rehman Foundation – said: 'I am delighted to see Asian Star return. It has become a staple in the diary for young Asian footballers, it remains the only event of its kind and it’s great that Chelsea put this event on every year.
‘Asian Star gives a platform for young people and gives them the belief, motivation and hope that they can go on and try and achieve their dreams in football.
‘I have attended in the past and it is always a great experience, if you are a young footballer I completely recommend signing up as regardless of your ability it is a great experience and a day you will never forget!’
Asian Star was launched in 2009 and has grown in size ever since, attracting almost 400 young players and their parents to Stamford Bridge last year, where they competed in a series of matches and skills sessions. The winners in each age group were all invited to join the Chelsea Foundation’s Football Development Centres.
The initiative, the first of its kind undertaken by a professional football club, was recognised with the ‘Special Recognition’ Award at the Asian Football Awards in November 2017, is available for both girls and boys, aged 9 to 12 with applications now open.
Asian Star returns on Saturday 18 May, with applications for players aged 9-12 now open.