Ghana Soccer

Ato Ampah: Ghanaian youngster triumphs over adversity with Chelsea Under-18s

English-born Ghanaian youngster Ato Ampah has proven that resilience and determination are key to success in football.

The talented winger faced numerous challenges during the 2023/24 season, but he managed to overcome them and finish the season on a high note with Chelsea Under-18s.

Ampah was delighted to have lifted a trophy with the Blues and to have played at Stamford Bridge for the first time in his career. The youngster believes that the adversity he faced has made him stronger and more focused on his goals.

The 18-year-old winger missed five months of the campaign through injury but returned to play an important role as we sealed our first Under-18 Premier League southern title since 2018. He then started the national final against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking at Cobham before taking a break for the summer, Ampah explained that the season had been a major test, but the highs and lows had taught him to remain positive during the difficult moments.

‘Overall, it’s been a good season. I have had ups and downs throughout, but I have come out the other side stronger,’ Ampah began.

‘We finished on a high by winning the Under-18 Premier League southern title and having the chance to play at Stamford Bridge.

‘It was a relief when we finally won the title. We all put endless hours into training, and winning the trophy with a game in hand was a big accomplishment, and also a season highlight.

‘Playing at Stamford Bridge was incredible. I embraced every single moment of it. It has given me a glimpse of what my future could look like, so knowing what it could be makes me want it even more.’

Ampah started the campaign perfectly, recording a hat-trick and two assists the Under-18s’ first away game at Aston Villa in August. However, just as he was hitting top form, Ampah was unexpectedly hit by a groin injury which took him out of action for five months.

He continued: ‘The main lesson I have learned this season is the importance of remaining positive.

‘I started the season in great form – getting my first hat-trick was a great achievement. I thought my performances were going to go from strength to strength, but then my injury came.

‘The injury was one of the hardest challenges I have faced as I felt mentally and physically isolated.

‘It was difficult seeing my team-mates play every day while I was getting physio treatment. Even listening to their conversations about the fixtures made me feel frustrated that I wasn’t involved.

‘However, I remained positive as I knew this phase in my life was temporary. I had to learn to accept my body and the situation. Being patient was vital.’

After undertaking his rehabilitation programme, Ampah described the emotions he felt once he returned to the pitch in the Under-18s’ fixture against Reading, scoring in a 2-0 victory on his comeback.

‘It was a great feeling once I returned back onto the pitch. I gave my all in that game and it was great to get the win.

‘During that game, I came to the realisation that I should feel grateful and blessed to be back playing and doing what I enjoy. Playing football shouldn’t be taken for granted.

‘The goal I scored in that game meant more to me than just a number, it was a message to know I was back, stronger than before.’

Ampah concludes by looking ahead to the next step in his career and what the future holds when he returns from his summer break, believing his experiences have left him well-placed to move up age groups in 2024/25.

‘I will bring my positivity into next season. The injury has made me realise that anything can happen, so taking care of yourself physically and mentally is everything.

‘I will be in the Under-21s squad full-time, which is another step closer to the men’s team. I am ready for all the challenges that will be thrown my way and look forward to more experiences at Chelsea.’

Source: Chelseafc

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