John Terry has been one of the most iconic players in England for the last decade, and while the tides are slowly turning, it doesn't seem as though English football is doing much to expand its base of UK players.
You can read a number of articles from various sources about the state of the English game, and a large number argue that the Premiership is the best league in the world because it employs a large portion of the worlds players.
Attempts by UEFA and FIFA to institute a "6+5" rule, where at least six players of the starting eleven must be from the country of the teams origins, have had little effect on English sides as of late.
However, Chelsea have announced that they will hold a competition in early May to find up and coming Asian stars in the UK.
The competition, "Search For An Asian Soccer Star," is being held with support from the FA, "Kick It Out", and the Asian Media Group. It will consist of a three day competition, May 2-4, at the club's Cobham training ground.
Players of Asian descent from the ages of 12-14 are encouraged to come out and participate. One winner from each age group will be offered a further three day trial at the club.
Competitions For Kids Happen All The Time
That is the plain and honest truth. I remember growing up and going to youth events were the goal was to "earn" a place on the team by performing well.
This is a bit different than the average run of the mill kids competition. Looking at Nike.com and seeing their new five-a-side tournament is proof enough that there is young talent in the UK.
Chelsea are killing two birds with one stone with this competiton. They are getting the young and outstanding players that will be the stars of tomorrow, and they are also helping to improve the level of talented players in the country.
Some argue that the club is doing this solely for advertisement and public relations points.
It is likely that that is one of their goals, however, the staff are bringing in managers and scouts from other teams to get a look at the talent. If Chelsea don't pick up a participant, then hopefully they can make it at a lower level club and work their way up the ranks.
A Trend Setter?
Will this move by Chelsea lead to other clubs hosting their own competitions?
It is too early to tell but it is likely that other competitions will follow in the near future, as other teams realize the importance of padding their youth academies with talented local players.
Until that time, though, the experiment being undertaken by Chelsea will serve as a benchmark for other clubs to follow when looking to expand their own player diversification programs.