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Frank Soo: Potters pay tribute to South East Asian pioneer

Before Christmas Stoke-on-Trent inducted Frank Soo, the first player with Chinese heritage to play in the Football League who made more than 170 appearances for the Potters from 1933 to 1945, into the city’s sporting Hall of Fame – here head of our Fans for Diversity campaign Nilesh Chauhan tells us more about the event and Frank’s legacy…

Stoke-on-Trent have recently bestowed one of its most prestigious honours upon a true pioneer of the sport, the late Frank Soo. Inducted into the Stoke-on-Trent sporting Hall of Fame, Soo’s legacy is now permanently enshrined in the rich history of the club. A trailblazer on and off the field, Soo’s contributions to football resonate far beyond his playing days, leaving an indelible mark that continues to inspire generations.

Frank Soo, born in 1914, made history as the first player of Chinese descent to represent England at the international level. His exceptional skills and tactical acumen positioned him as a midfield maestro, earning him a revered place in the annals of English football. Soo’s journey with Stoke City saw him become a linchpin in the team’s midfield, showcasing not only his technical prowess but also his leadership qualities.

Soo’s impact on the pitch extended beyond his individual brilliance; he played a pivotal role in Stoke City’s successes during his tenure. His ability to read the game, orchestrate attacks, and provide defensive stability became the bedrock of the team’s achievements, earning him the admiration and respect of fans and fellow players alike.

Frank Soo’s influence wasn’t confined to the football field. Post-retirement, he embarked on a coaching career that further solidified his status as a football luminary. His commitment to nurturing young talent and promoting diversity within the sport set a precedent for future generations.

Inducting Soo into the city’s Hall of Fame is not just a recognition of his on-field exploits but also a celebration of his enduring impact on the broader football community. His coaching philosophy, characterized by a blend of discipline, creativity, and inclusivity, continues to shape the ethos of the beautiful game.

As Stoke-on-Trent honours Frank Soo with this well-deserved induction into the Hall of Fame, it underscores the club’s commitment to recognizing those whose contributions extend beyond the scoreline. Soo’s legacy serves as a reminder that football is not just about goals and victories; it’s about breaking barriers, inspiring change, and leaving an everlasting imprint on the sport.

Frank Soo’s induction into the Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to a footballing trailblazer. As fans and the footballing community celebrate this momentous occasion, they not only honour the memory of a remarkable player and coach but also perpetuate the values of diversity, leadership, and excellence that Frank Soo embodied throughout his illustrious career. His story will continue to resonate, inspiring future generations to reach new heights both on and off the football pitch.

The induction was attended by myself on behalf of the Fans for Diversity campaign alongside FSA chair Malcolm Clark, Dal Darroch the FA’s head of diversity and inclusion strategic programmes and Alan Lau, founder of the Frank Soo Foundation.

Fans For Diversity is a campaign programme run in partnership between the Football Supporters’ Association and Kick It Out, English football’s equality and inclusion organisation. Fans For Diversity encourages, funds and supports initiatives by fan groups to promote diversity and inclusion in football, and to challenge all forms of discrimination.

For more information on funding available from the campaign, contact Nilesh Chauhan.

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball