Chelsea Press Release
PROFESSIONAL BACKING FOR ASIAN STAR
London-born Pakistan international Kashif Siddiqi has urged youngsters to sign up for Chelsea’s Asian Star initiative and enjoy a day they will never forget.
This year’s Asian Star will take place on May 5 at our Cobham Training Ground with Siddiqi, who currently plays for Northampton Town and is one of just eight homegrown Asian players with professional deals across England’s top four divisions, fully supporting the initiative.
Places remain available for players aged 9 to 12, with the project, now in its sixth year, designed to tackle under-representation of Asian footballers throughout the game.
Defender Siddiqi, who was born in Hammersmith, is a big fan of the initiative and believes the day is a fantastic way to celebrate the work the club do to engage the Asian community.
‘I encourage any youngsters not signed up to come and take part as it’s a great day,’ said Siddiqi, who co-founded Football For Peace in 2012, which is powered by the Kashif Siddiqi Foundation in the UK and sanctioned by the United Nations globally.
‘It’s not just about the youngsters having fun for an hour or two it is an opportunity for parents to come along and ask questions and understand how they can help their kids reach the level they want.
‘It is a fantastic initiative and Chelsea are helping to bridge the gap in the community and it is something which can be a blueprint for other clubs nationwide.
‘What is great is Chelsea are not just doing a one-off day, they work on projects all year round, are engaged with stakeholders in the Asian community and are there to help parents who want to know more about helping their child play sport. If you get in touch with the club they will help’
The Asian Star programme has already uncovered seven potential stars of the future who have gone on to play for professional clubs’ academies, while winners in each age group are invited to join the Chelsea Foundation‘s Football Development Centres.
Siddiqi, 28, added: ‘There is no substitute for hard work and Asian Star gives youngsters the chance to show they have that and allows them to make the most of their talent.
‘When I was growing up I would have jumped at the chance to come along and show the coaches I had the passion and desire to succeed.
‘But the day is also not just about talent identification, that is a bonus, it is about the middle ground and teaching these kids, whatever ability they have, about playing football and how to be professional off the field as well, especially in regards to their lifestyles and