Asians in Football trailblazer Frank Soo to be celebrated ahead of 90th anniversary of Stoke debut; Soo, whose father was Chinese, was the Football League's first East Asian heritage player, later featuring in a wartime international and becoming the first Asian player to represent England
Thursday 2 November 2023 08:13, UK
England trailblazer Frank Soo will be inducted into Stoke-on-Trent's Sporting Hall of Fame to coincide with the 90th anniversary of his Stoke City debut, Sky Sports News can exclusively reveal.
Soo, whose father was Chinese, became the first player of Asian heritage to represent England when he appeared in a wartime international against Wales in 1942.
Derbyshire-born Soo is a Stoke City legend, who made more than 250 appearances for the club, and was a former team-mate and captain of Sir Stanley Matthews.
He was the first person of East or South East Asian (ESEA) heritage to appear in the Football League.
Soo died in Cheadle on January 25 1991. He was 76-years-old.
A tribute to Soo is also planned at the bet365 stadium, with Saturday's visit of Cardiff City arriving exactly 90 years on from his Stoke debut, which came against Middlesbrough on November 4 1933.
Soo will join 1966 World Cup-winner Gordon Banks, his former team-mate Matthews, darts legend Phil 'The Power' Taylor and squash icon Angela Smith in the Stoke-on-Trent Sporting Hall of Fame.
The Lord Mayor of the City of Stoke-on-Trent Majid Khan will conduct a civic ceremony and officially induct Soo into the Sporting Hall of Fame on Friday.
Stoke City's chief operating officer Simon King to Sky Sports News:
"The addition of Frank Soo to the Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute and a great way to ensure that his story lives on.
"Stoke City is seeking to be as inclusive to people from all backgrounds as we can possibly be, celebrating and welcoming diversity within our fanbase, our community and our club.
"Even all these years on from his debut and resulting career, Frank's achievements remain inspirational in that regard and his legacy is something to be cherished and preserved."
Cardiff City full-back Perry Ng to Sky Sports News:
"It's a pleasure to be playing for Cardiff City this weekend with our opponents, Stoke City, having been Frank's club for the best part of his playing career.
"I'd like to take the opportunity of congratulating the Frank Soo Foundation for their work and especially on this milestone weekend for East and South East Asian communities that marks 90 years since Frank made his Football League debut for Stoke.
"As we know, Frank was the first player of Chinese or East Asian heritage to play in the Football League and I'm proud to follow in his footsteps, being of Singaporean descent myself."
Frank Soo Foundation spokesperson Maxwell Min to Sky Sports News:
"We are delighted to see Frank Soo and his achievements recognised in Stoke, a city in which he had such a positive impact.
"Frank is an inspiration, and his story is not as widely known as it should be. His induction into the Stoke-on-Trent Sporting Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to a giant of English football.
"It is also fantastic to see that Stoke City's tradition of East and South East Asian players continues today, with Joon-Ho Bae arriving at the club in the summer after starring in the K-League."
Frank's great niece, Jacqui Soo, to Sky Sports News:
"He was a dedicated and true professional and a constant source of pride to his extended family.
"We hope that his legacy will go on to inspire future generations of boys and girls from East and South East Asian backgrounds to play football."
Soo started his career at Prescott Cables, before joining Stoke and going on to play for Leicester City, Luton Town and Chelmsford City.
He would go on to manage St Albans City and Scunthorpe United, but enjoyed most success in Scandinavia where he had a stint coaching Norway, before winning the Swedish title with Djurgardens IF.
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