Two young soccer starlets from Hong Kong have thanked the club for providing them with a once-in-a-lifetime football experience.
James Kwok and Joshua Gostick, both aged 15, enjoyed a 10-day stay with the club after emerging victorious in the inaugural RoverStars scheme, which was launched in their homeland last year.
The talent identification initiative is the brainchild of Rovers’ Indian owners, Venky’s, who are committed to scouting and developing the most promising young players from across Asia, by offering them a route to receive first class coaching.
The talented teenagers, who play for the Hong Kong Football club, impressed senior Rovers officials during the club’s participation in last summer’s Barclays Asia Trophy.
Throughout their visit, James and Joshua were based at Brockhall, where they had the opportunity to showcase their skills whilst training with Rovers’ Academy Under-16s and Under-15s, before getting the opportunity to watch a first team training session and meet manager Steve Kean.
James said: “I have now settled down back in Hong Kong and am already missing Blackburn so much! I feel very fortunate to have won the tickets to Blackburn, to get the chance to train with the local players and enjoy world-class training! It was a great opportunity for me to experience the difference between training in Hong Kong and in England. This was my first visit to England and I had been really excited about it since last summer.
“Thank you for coaching and taking care of me over the past two weeks, I learnt a lot from you all. Our football club training starts tomorrow and I will show them what I have learnt and share this wonderful experience with my fellow team-mates!
“I am now a Rovers fan and will definitely watch your games on TV! Good luck this year and I can't wait to see you back in the Premier League!”
Joshua added: “It’s only been about a day since I arrived back in Hong Kong, but I have already been missing all the vivid memories from the two brilliant weeks I spent at the Blackburn Rovers Academy.
“ The vast flat grass pitches, the pace of football in England, the professional coaching, the excitement every day before training and even the delicious soup at lunch are only a few of the many wonderful things that I will miss from the trip.
“The two weeks in Blackburn may have ended, but the Blackburn way of playing and training have not and I am very looking forward to this season in succeeding with both club and school. Thank you for giving me a once in a lifetime experience and I really hope that I will be able to come back again some time.”
Rovers will be joined by the next batch of successful RoverStars finalists from India next month.