Chelsea twins victorious in Asian Soccer Star initiative
Twin brothers, Umair and Umer Khan, won the Under-10s category in Chelsea’s third Search for an Asian Soccer Star, helping them secure trials with the club’s academy this summer.
Despite only one spot being available in each age group, an exception was made after the brothers, who currently play for Concorde Juniors FC, impressed scouts enough to guarantee them both call-backs.
“We’re both very happy and feel very lucky to get the opportunity to come to the Chelsea Academy to show our ability,” said Umair.
Turning out at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground, over 300 young hopefuls were put through drills and tests for speed and agility before taking part in competitive matches. The winners in the four age groups from Under 9s to Under 12s were chosen based on their performance, test results and the analysis of the Chelsea Foundation coaches.
Bhangra singer Jaz Dhami joined two previous winners of the competition A’ameer Kstantin Murphy, currently trialling with West Ham, and Kai Bhuller, now playing at Norwich City’s Academy to hand out the prizes.
Under-9s group winner, Sam Khan from Coventry, said: “I can’t believe I won the competition. It means a lot and I’m really happy I’ve got a trial, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Rohan Bunger from Gravesend, who won the Under-11s age group, commented: “I am absolutely overwhelmed. The whole day has been great – everyone wants you to be successful. Winning means everything because I’ve always wanted to play football and now I have a chance of living my dream.’
In the oldest age group, east London’s Mohammed Lemon was victorious.
Ian Woodroffe, a development manager for the Chelsea Foundation, believes there’s enough ability to develop Asian footballers of the future: “Players who have come out of Asian Soccer Star have gone on and signed for clubs, it shows it’s going in the right direction and we’re getting a positive outcome. There is plenty of talent out there and hopefully it will help us make positives steps for Asian football in the future.”
Head of the Chelsea Foundation, Simon Taylor, said: “It’s been a huge success and it’s really nice to see the game played with such a good spirit. Clearly there’s a huge amount of talent within the Asian community and we as a football club are still leading the way on tackling the under representation of Asian players in all levels of the game.”