In an exclusive and personal interview, recent success story, Jason Sangha, talks to Pro Soccer Consulting about his experience as an Asian player in the world of professional soccer.
Jason Sangha became PSC’s first success story of the summer when he signed for Swedish Second Division side Gällivare Malmbergets FF (GMFF) in July, but his journey hasn’t always been easy.
The British-born, Indian native recovered from disappointment at his first combine by coming back stronger and earning a first professional contract in Europe, with standout performances at the company’s Fort Lauderdale event
Three months on, the centre-back is helping to fly the flag for Asian players at this level of the game and has become an ambassador for Walkoff, an organization looking to encourage diversity in sport.
Firstly Jason, you’ve been in Sweden for a few months now, how have you settled in?
“I’ve settled in very well. GMFF was a very welcoming club and I got on well with the coaches and players. The club has taken very good care of me since the first day that I arrived in Sweden.”
Following your signing, many people were talking about you as an example for aspiring Asian players. Is that something you’re proud of?
“Throughout my soccer career, I have not come up against many Asian players and it’s great to set an example for up and coming Asians within the game. I am very proud of being one of very few Asian professional players out there and I hope to inspire many others. “
What challenges, if any, have you faced as a British-born Asian in the world of soccer?
“I have faced challenges with people respecting my race. It was always hard to play soccer when I was growing up, because there were very few Asian players. But now, as you can see, it is all changing. There are many top Asian players that are coming through to be professional.”
Tell us a little bit about your role as an ambassador for Walkoff. How did that come about?
“I was approached by Walkoff and they asked me if I wanted to be an ambassador for them – I said ‘absolutely’ in a heartbeat. It’s great to be a part of Walkoff because racism was always a big issue when I was growing up, especially in soccer. To be able to be a part of a great campaign, full of different races, is really a big honor for me.”
Do you think it’s more difficult for Asian players to make it in this industry? If so, where do you think that problem stems from?
“I do think it is a lot more difficult for Asian players to make it as a player, and I think the problem stems from the lack of opportunities. Now, there are a lot of Asian players out there and I think the more opportunities that are presented, the better chance they have of making it. If I didn’t get the opportunity through PSC, I don’t think I would have made it to be a professional.”
How important is the work that PSC does in giving players exposure and the chance to play abroad?
“The work is extremely important. PSC give life-changing opportunities all over the world. The thing that I love about PSC is how trustworthy everyone is. If you are good enough, PSC will find you a club, no matter where it is.”
Jason’s success is a testament to his dedication, and PSC are proud to be continuing to help his development in Sweden.
If you think you have what it takes to play professionally, please attend one of our upcoming combines [link], or contact our staff.
Ryan Grant is a sports journalist who writes for EPL giants Manchester United and has been published by Goal.com, The Guardian, FourFourTwo and worked with several respective football clubs, including: Glasgow Rangers, Preston North End, Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, and Blackpool, among others.