Wonderkid Wednesday: Saleh’s superb season

Author: Joseph Turner

Hassan Saleh of the United Arab Emirates may only be 11 years-old, but he’s most certainly turning into an exciting prospect on the football pitch. Having already established himself in the Desert Rangers youth team, he’s now turning out for the Spanish Soccer School.

GYS asked Hassan to give us a few details about himself, and the sport he partakes in. He said: "Football is currently my main sport however I also take part in Swimming, Athletics, Aquathlon and Rounders. I go to the GEMS Wellington Academy School in Dubai. I also play football for Desert Rangers Football Club, KAFO and Spanish Soccer School.”

When asked about his background in football and what age he was introduced, Hassan commented: “I was invited to the M&S football team trial at the age of 6, where I made it to the squad and was trained by my coach Vicky Fisher. I have been introduced to many different positions and this challenged me to try my hardest. When I was 8 years-old I joined Desert Rangers Football Club, and I played in many different leagues and tournaments across UAE. I have had the incredible opportunity to play in the Spanish Soccer School, coached by Michel Salgado and KAFO, coached by Freddy Kanoute.” 

Hassan continued to surprise us when asked about his sporting achievements to date. Frankly it’s incredible what he’s achieved in such a short space of time. 

Saleh continued: “I was awarded Player of The Season in Junior Football League at U8 level 3 years in a row. I was also selected as the Jebel Ali Youth League U9 Player of The Season along with various awards in Silicon 7s and Super 7s tournaments. Hassan was then selected as the best player at the Bobby Charlton Soccer Academy camp which was held for the first time in Dubai by international coaches from the UK. I have recently been awarded with the U12 top goalscorer award in the JFL Season 1. My school have nominated me for the UAE teen sports and fitness award for 2 years. Last year I came 2nd in a fittest teen competition at U14 level.

Hassan clearly has a bright future ahead of himself. When asked about what he has planned for the future, it appears he’s got an image in his mind of where he wants to go.

“I am working hard to balance my academics and sports as I am dreaming to become a top educated professional footballer. I am attending some camps and trials for top football schools and have been well supported by my school.”

Hassan’s coaches also had some additional words to say about young Hassan’s development as a player. 

John Adetiba, formerly his coach at Desert Rangers, said: “Hassan Saleh is an exceptional young athlete; this little wizard has gained hearts of all his coaches and teammates. His passion about football and willingness to improve and exceed get him to put 100% effort everyday he practices and competes in. In almost all football tournaments and leagues, he got rewarded as most valuable player or best player. Hassan never missed a training session. He is small in size but he is confident enough to quickly force people to notice his talent and admit that he is such an amazing athlete and young sportsman.”

Once of Saleh's first coaches, Vicky Fisher added: "Hassan has always shown great commitment to his sport, never missing training sessions, events or fixtures. He has a great attitude to learn and a desire to want to improve and be the best that he can be. He is a great role model for those around him, always setting an example by giving 110%. Hassan was a pleasure to coach and will for sure go on to achieve big success in whatever he chooses."

GYS wishes Hassan the very best of luck with his football and look forward to keeping an eye on his progress.