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Frank Soo: Google Doodle celebrates first English football player of non-European descent to represent England

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Google Doodle celebrates English football player and coach Frank Soo, the first footballer of Asian heritage and non-European descent to represent England, on May 9, 2020.

Frank Soo was an English professional football player and manager of mixed Chinese and English parentage. He was the first player of Chinese origin to play in the English Football League, and the first non-white player to represent England (in unofficial wartime matches).

Frank Soo was born in Buxton, Derbyshire on 08 March 1914, and raised in Liverpool. He immediately earned a notoriety for being outstanding amongst other youth players in the city. At only 18 years of age, he was explored by Stoke City F.C., becoming the first professional player of Chinese heritage in the English Football League.

Frank Soo
Frank Soo

He at first started his career at inside-left, however, he later became more settled at half-back. A fast and clever player, he was a phenomenal passer of the ball. He experienced childhood in Liverpool and started his playing profession with Prescot Cables, before he joined Stoke City for a £400 fee in January 1933. He made his first-team debut in November 1933 and got established in the first team by the 1935–36 season.

Frank Soo lost a large portion of his best playing years to World War II, leaving him just ready to serve in the Royal Air Force and play for Stoke and England in unofficial wartime games, as well as a visitor for various clubs. He was sold on to Leicester City for a fee of £4,600 in September 1945 and afterward proceeded onward to Luton Town ten months after the fact for £5,000. He joined the Chelmsford City of the Southern League in May 1948 and retired as a player after two seasons.

Renowned for an intelligent playing style, superb ball control, and exact passing, the charismatic Frank Soo was named team captain at age 27 and rose to a level of the national celebrity. In 1940, after the outbreak of World War II, Soo recruited in the Royal Air Force and proceeded with his inheritance as the captain of its football team.

On May 9 in 1942, Frank Soo made his international debut in a match against Wales, becoming the first individual of non-European descent—and just ever of Asian legacy—to represent the nation’s team at the most significant level.

Even though England’s Football Association regarded its wartime matches unofficial, Frank Soo proceeded to represent his nation in nine such international fixtures by 1945.

Frank Soo retired from playing in 1950 and proceeded onward to a successful international coaching career that kept going more than three decades. His heritage lives on in the undeniably different English team that plays today.

A stern taskmaster, Frank Soo proceeded to coach different various European clubs during the 1950s and mid-1960s. He temporarily coached Finnish club Helsingin Palloseura in 1949, preceding taking responsibility at Isthmian League side St Albans City for the 1950–51 season. He was selected manager of Italian Serie A club Padova in April 1951, yet left the club 11 months after the fact following the abrupt death of his wife.

Frank Soo proceeded to coach Norway at the 1952 Summer Olympics, at that point led Eskilstuna to promotion out of the Swedish Division 3 Östra in 1952–53. He temporarily managed Örebro, before he coached Djurgården to the Allsvenskan title in 1954–55. Frank Soo at that point came back to lower league football with Oddevold, making sure about promotion out of Division 3 Nordvästra Götaland in 1955–56.

Frank Soo coached at AIK in 1958, preceding coming back to England to manage Scunthorpe United in June 1959. He took Scunthorpe to fifteenth in the Second Division in the 1959–60 season, before he resigned in May 1960. From that point he battled to look for some kind of work, spending brief periods in charge at IFK Stockholm (Sweden), Fredrikstad (Norway), and Akademisk Boldklub (Denmark).

Frank Soo died in Cheadle in Stoke on 25 January 1991 from complications coming about because of dementia.

A Foundation named after Frank Soo was made in 2016. The aim of this is to promote Frank’s story and to proceed with his heritage. An annual 5-a-side charity football competition is held in his honor, with the Player of the Tournament award being named after him.

On May 8, 2020, Frank Soo was honored by Google with a doodle to recognize the anniversary of his first England cap.

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