Grassroots East Asian Football in the United Kingdom - The British Chinese Community Speaks

East Asian Grassroots Football in the UK

East Asian Football

The English Premier League has global reach and universal popularity and since the league's inception in 1992, the league has become more and more diverse in terms of management and players.

One set of players who have slowly been making an impact are East Asian players and superstars like Son Heung Min are blazing the way forward.

His predecessors include the likes of Park Ji Sung, Sun Jihai, Li Tie, Shinji Okazaki, Fan Zhi yi and Shinji Kagawa who played for Manchester United amongst many others.

When a person looks at the local East Asian community in the United Kingdom then there are little to no players who have risen up the ranks to become professionals.

Frank Soo was seen as a trailblazer for the East Asian community though his influence and achievements for Stoke (and Leicester, Luton and Chelmsford City) and England nearly date back a century now.

Phil Cheng, who played for the East Asian London-based Team, Pacific Storm in the 2000s gave his view on the state of the East Asian football scene.

Pacific Storm FC.

Cheng gave a wider picture of the local East Asian football scene.

"In terms of organized football, where we live in the north, it is none existent but certainly in bigger cities you can definitely find teams featuring predominantly East Asians / British Born Chinese including Chinese leagues. Elsewhere, it is individuals playing in local teams or leagues."

Cheng gave his reasons as to why there are little to no UK born East Asians playing at professional level in England.

"I think simply it is because the BBC / East Asians don't have the dedication or the commitment required to reach the professional levels. I don't mean that in a statement in a negative way but Chinese family values have tended to focus on education, homework and finding a career first. For example, my parents would never have allowed me to stay in the streets or garden playing football until dark as I would have to have done homework, helped in the takeaway, practice piano etc.

Also, I think the commitment needed by the parents to take players to training and games would be a huge burden too.

Overall I think it is extremely unlikely we would see any East Asian / British Chinese professionals in my lifetime. I think certainly some parts of the community would but depending on the player displaying any obvious potential to make it as a professional would be a huge factor. Otherwise, if it were a gamble then I think many would prefer their children to focus on studies."


Frank Soo Google Doodle

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