Following a successful FA led Talent ID programme aimed at the British Asian population, Sporting Equals have undertaken a project which looks to monitor the progress of each winner. Detailing their overall experiences post-event will prove invaluable in the ever-present discussion orientated on the under-representation of British Asians in football.
Hosted in Birmingham, the Star Talent Identification programme forms part of The FA's 'Bringing Opportunities to Communities' plan to increase Asian inclusion in grassroots football. Aimed at four different age categories; under-9's, under-10's, under-11's and under-12's, the event saw scouts from Birmingham City Football select four budding stars to be given a 6-week trial at their respective academy. Additionally, there were a variety of workshops set up to help answer any questions or queries parents/guardians held in regards to the event and the way in which The FA are tackling such disparities within the game.
In itself, the monitoring will present experiences of both parents/guardians and respective winners. Collectively, many assume there are multiple barriers to participation for British Asians, of which include parental influences. Therefore, gaining experiences of parents will either endorse the claim or eliminate it.
Please note, this blog will not be manipulated or changed, allowing total freedom of expression to the respective winners.
Sporting Equals have asked parents to give a brief reflection of their experiences within football and whether they feel such events will create opportunities for the British Asian community. Their responses are below:
Jay-Jay's parents are overwhelmingly supportive and believe such initiatives are crucial when looking to break down barriers within the game. They consider the development over the past decade and praise The FA in dealing with the under-representation head on. Coaches from Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, and Continental Star FC together with Birmingham FC's scouts give kids extra motivation to want to succeed. Also, work conducted by other diversity driven organisations who held further discussions with participants gives parents confidence these issues are at the forefront of their agendas.
Encouraging Jay-Jay to get involved in football from a young age, they seized any opportunity available, from going to Chelsea Football Club's very own Asian talent ID event to ensuring Jay-Jay had transport to attend training midweek and matches on a weekend. An avid football family, the youth are always given a chance to join amateur grassroots clubs. The popular perception of parental dismissal has dramatically changed, with parents now open to their children a progressive career in the world of football.
Jay's parents are equally passionate in their regards to encouraging football involvement. Holding events predominately aimed at the Asian community is not only beneficial for players, but also the wider community. It illustrates the prospects available within the football environment and the fact that clubs are now aware of past prejudicial experiences. The common acceptance of Asians not being physically well-built, parents not being supportive, whilst simultaneously favouring children to focus on educational attainment has diminished. The FA would not have held such programmes if they feel there was not a demand.
Therefore, Jay always had the support from his parents. He was given trials at West Bromwich Albion FC at a young age but was told he was too small to compete at academy level. Although unsuccessful, his parents still believe he has the capability of going onto progress in academies. The English game being renowned for its physicality, scouts have generally preferred to obtain a player who can cope with such demands. However, such events have changed that view; if a player has the technical ability, they should be given a chance to compete. Parent involvement is the gateway to successful participation.
The four winners will have their trials with Birmingham City Football Club in January. The next update will be presented in the next few months.
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