12:46pm Tuesday 1st April 2014
WALES star Neil Taylor is supporting an initiative to boost the numbers of young British Asian players entering professional football.
The Swansea City left-back believes programmes such as Chelsea’s Asian Star can help attract more British Asian players to the sport.
Taylor has an English father and his mother is from Kolkata in Eastern India. He is currently the only British Asian playing in the Premier League, while he is one of just seven homegrown Asian players with a professional contract in English football.
Chelsea’s Asian Star event will take place on Monday, May 5, at the Premier League club's state-of-the-art training ground in Cobham in Surrey.
A handful of places are still available for players aged nine to 12 for the programme, which is designed to tackle under-representation of Asian footballers throughout the game.
Now in its sixth year the Chelsea Foundation invites managers, coaches and scouts from clubs at all levels of the game to identify talented youngsters, and information will also be on hand for Asian players to find clubs in their area.
Taylor is a big fan of the initiative and hopes Asian Star, along with his continued success at the top level of the English game with Swansea can help inspire Asian youngsters to play more football.
"The project Chelsea run is great and there should be a lot more things like it," said the 25-year-old Wales international who also represented Team GB at London 2012.
"It is an example for the kids, which proves people are watching and that if you have the talent people will recognise it.
"We need to be producing more players at all levels, and to do that there needs to be a change in the mentality," he added.
"I had heard about the programme before and Chelsea is the only club doing something like this. The kids attending just need to believe in themselves, they need a single-minded approach and realise that opportunities are there regardless of your origin."
The Asian Star initiative 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.
Applications for this year's tournament are now open to youngsters nationwide via www.chelseafc.com/asianstar or for further information contact email@example.com
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