Bristol City sign first ever British-South Asian player in club's history

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Bristol City have made history by signing the club’s first ever British player with South Asian heritage.

Simran Jhamat has joined the Robins on a free transfer this summer and has already scored in her debut during a pre-season friendly on August 1.

The 20-year-old recognises she is in the minority as a South Asian professional in elite football and relishes the chance to be a role model to others.

She said: "It's a proud moment for me and hopefully I can be a role model to the younger generation and that's all I want to be.

"Being an Asian, to bring other Asians up into whatever you can do really in sport and in anything - it doesn't matter where you come from, what background you're from.

Simran has already represented her country at youth level and is the first Punjabi player to score for England. Credit: Simran Jhamat

"It's difficult mentally because it can affect some people mentally being like 'ah she's told me or he's told me I can't play football' and then they just give up.

"I want to keep making history, I want to be a role model to people so I'm definitely proud of that and I'm really grateful of it as well."

Simran joins the club after spending last season at Lewes FC. She was initially handed her top-flight debut in 2019 when she was at Liverpool.

She's already represented her country at youth level and is the first Punjabi player to score for England during a 6-0 win over Slovakia for the U17s.

Fewer than half a per cent of professional footballers have South Asian heritage and Simran faced a number of barriers herself when she was young girl and wanted to play football.

Simran was initially told she couldn't play football when she was younger but her persistence has left a legacy for other girls Credit: Simran Jhamat

Her persistence and love for the game has already helped to create a pathway for young girls with a South Asian background to get involved with sport.

She said: "I used to go to Sikh camps when I was younger and the girls weren't allowed to play football and obviously I was really gutted but then I had an argument with them because I wanted to play football.

"So ever since then every year they've put girls' football in place which is really good.

"It brings more Asian girls into the game and obviously that's what everyone wants which is getting better."

Her new head coach at Bristol City, Lauren Smith, is delighted to welcome Simran to the club.

Lauren believes that Simran has the attacking attributes to thrive in the Championship in the upcoming season Credit: ITV West Country

Lauren has praised Simran for her determination and attacking ability, and believes the youngster can thrive in the upcoming Championship season.

She said: "We were looking for players with ambition and drive and Simran fits that quota so I'm really pleased she's joined us here and is part of our full-time set-up.

"She's a great technician, so in attack hopefully what she can do with the ball close and roll defenders, you'll see her this year unlocking some of those defences in the Championship.

"She's ambitious and what we want to do as a club is support her with that ambition.

"We've got the set-up and the support system in place to be able to provide her with everything to be a professional and achieve her potential."