Two City Academy players recently visited St George's Park to be a part of the PFA’s Player Development Day as part of their Asian inclusion mentoring scheme (AIMS).
AIMS was created to enhance the experience of British Asian footballers on the elite pathway by creating a structured network of support that allows them to thrive. Danny Baath of Sunderland, Neil Taylor of Middlesbrough, Otis Khan of Leyton Orient and Malvind Benning of Port Vale are among the senior footballers mentoring scholars and emerging pros, with those players, in turn, sharing their Academy experiences with their younger peers.
Following on from the previous AIMS Player Development Day appetite from players and families on the programme to connect and network more regularly. These face-to-face events have proved a real highlight giving players the opportunity to connect with peers from different clubs, partake in a coaching session as well as network and learn from professional player experiences.
The PFA’s player inclusion executive Riz Rehman said: “The momentum behind the PFA’s five-year strategy to increase Asian representation in the game is very strong and thanks must go to all the clubs who have fully supported and backed the scheme by connecting us with their players and families.
“Over the last 24 months we have laid some solid foundations upon which to build, and we will continue to work with our networks of clubs to provide additional wrap around support for players and families. We’ve had unbelievable buy in from our nationwide network of clubs and this was demonstrated in the attendance on the day with many allowing their players and staff to miss weekend fixtures and training schedules to attend the Player Development Day.”
More than 90 players from Academy level to professionals, were accompanied by parents, coaches, practitioners, club staff and stakeholders at St George's Park. The full day included educational presentations, parent workshops and coaching sessions for the players led by England U17 head coach Tom Curtis. The turnout illustrates the success of the scheme which has allowed players to connect, parents and practitioners to network and bring together communities that all have the aim to progress along the elite pathway.