Often Partisan

Yao on Trial

American winger Devann Yao played ninety minutes on trial for Birmingham City’s development squad in their 1-0 win over their Nottingham Forest counterparts yesterday.

The 22-year-old last played league football for Belgian second division side Boussu Dour Borinage but left at the end of October of last year having lost his starting position. The American had made 22 appearances for Boussu last season, scoring four times.

Born to an Ivorian father and an Italian mother, Yao holds both American and Italian citizenship allowing him to play without need for a work permit.

Hailed as an exciting youth prospect, Yao has had a career which saw him discovered as “the next big thing” as a ten-year-old in his native New York City before moving to France to play in FC Metz’ youth academy as a thirteen year old. He then played for a year in Italy for AS Livorno’s reserves and Pisa before moving on to a spell in Scotland with St Mirren.

Having struggled to= make it in Scotland Yao returned to hs native America to try out for MLS side New York Red Bulls before returning to England where he trialled with Ipswich Town in November 2009, eventually winning a contract in February 2010.

The winger never made an appearance for Ipswich however after failing to impress in their reserve side and was released by the Tractor Boys at the end of the 2009-10 season. He then trialled for West Ham where he played in two pre-season fixtures. Unfortunately he couldn’t quite make the cut there either and ended up signing for Ashford Town in February 2011, playing the remainder of the season for the Southern League Division One Central club before making his way to Belgium.

Yao is a winger who can play either side and was known in Belgium for his pace and his dribbling. In the footage of him playing for Boussu you can see he is keen to take the man on either side to get to the byline although his shooting seems to leave a little to be desired.

At this moment in time it’s not known how long Yao is on trial with Blues for, or if he is likely to be taken on but it shows where Blues are on a transfer basis that they are looking at an out-of-contract player from the Belgian second division as a potential signing.

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38 Responses to “Yao on Trial”

  • Pete says:

    Inspiring…. lol.

  • swissjonny says:

    Im presuming everyone has seen the Villa-Hitler sketch on you tube? Awful man-great comedy.

  • Big Al says:

    I’m grimacing…at the noise coming from the bottom of that barrel we are scraping.

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Struggled in Scotland , never played for Ipswich, couldn’t cut it at West Ham,
    but managed half a season at Ashford Town…

    I am just going to find a quiet corner to weep inconsolably for the rest of the morning…:-(

  • bluenoseneil says:

    I am struggling to see a positive here.

    So far we seem to be fully preparing for League One or another season in the VERY lower reaches of the Championship.

    We all know its cash flow related. It’s just depressing…

  • Stevieboy says:

    Seems we’re trying to replace Chris Burke before he goes!

  • Masaccio says:

    Looks to b e slow for a pacy winger and his distribution/shooting wayward at times

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I was at Wilford Lane yesterday to watch the Under 21’s. It was a scrappy game spoiled by a strong wind, Yao was by far Blues’ best attacker and when fed the ball (which wasn’t as much as he would have liked) he was direct in his play and showed both passing ability and dribbling skills.
    He is 3 or 4 years older than his teamates in this match,excluding Pablo, and has had more experience,which was evident.
    Certainly worth another look at.

  • Manicmac says:

    When I read the headline I thought another one of our directors was in court !!

  • Asif ashiq says:

    I was wondering with our limited finances how about the blues try and sign robbie fowler. Reckon he could still do it

    • almajir says:

      I assume that you are joking

      • Asif ashiq says:

        Why not? If kevin phillips could do it im sure fowler still can. And he knows where the back of the net is. If everyone is up for sale he possibly could be cheaper option

        • almajir says:

          I’m not sure if this has escaped your attention, but Blues are skint and can barely afford to pay the players it has without signing someone who’s going to want a fat paycheque…

          That’s after you consider the fact he’s 37 and hasn’t played football in 12 months.

        • marc says:

          Robbie Fowler???? Were letting players go because we cant afford to pay them and your saying get Robbie Fowler in. In footballing terms his a grandad and we could not afford to pay him anyway. some Blue’s fan’s do not realise how bad thing’s actually are at the moment at St Andrew’s

  • Richard Granfield says:

    On the subject of “Left Wingers”. Enric Valles is now playing for OLOT in Spain’s Tercera Division. Tercera translated means Third, but is actually Spain’s 4th tier.OLOT is situated in Catalonia where Ricky originates from,having started with Barcelona’s youth team.

  • mark says:

    it best not to be judgmental to the lad until blues decide not to take a risk. kro
    It appears that people are happy to continue to make fun rather than get behind the manager and the team. If Chris Burke goes so what, I am extremely positive we got the three points on Saturday hopefully we can push on and get out of the mire we are in. Some player don’t have what it takes at certain clubs. Just look at Andrew Johnson at blues ring any bells.

    • Denis Thwaites says:

      Trialling scottish second division players plus lower league Belgian cast offs is where we are.

      If we go bust then it may be a reminder that Andy Johnson may not have made it at Blues but he was sold at 21 (still a rookie) in a deal where we paid Crystal Palace 4.25 milion plus Johnson!! He later went on to score a boat load of goals play for England and get sold to Everton for £8.1 million. Morrison was a flop and went on to be a journeyman who has achieved nothing in the game. Although it is of no consequence towhere we are now potentailly £15+ million quid Blues lost on flogging AJ before he reached his potential

      • mark says:

        This is where blues future is homegrown players who want to play for Birmingham city and maybe if AJ had more time he may have filled his potential with blues and would have have been legend. Of course it may be necessary to occasionally sell one of young players if the big clubs come in and offer silly money eg butland. But we as blues fans must understand that Clark is under extreme pressure from fans, he’s in a no win situation what why previous manager Chris jump ship, so i take my hat off to him. We as fans need to get behind our young players and bring them on through. In an young player it come down to passion, desire and most of all commitment and application. And our u21 are doing very well. almajir whats the possibility of Henry-Francis or Doris playing for blues first team in the future.

      • mark says:

        This is where blues future is homegrown players who want to play for Birmingham city and maybe if AJ had more time he may have filled his potential with blues and would have have been legend. Of course it may be necessary to occasionally sell one of young players if the big clubs come in and offer silly money eg butland. But we as blues fans must understand that Clark is under extreme pressure from fans, he’s in a no win situation what why previous manager Chris jump ship, so i take my hat off to him. We as fans need to get behind our young players and bring them on through. In a young player it come down to passion, desire and most of all commitment and application. And our u21 are doing very well. almajir whats the possibility of Henry-Francis or Doris playing for blues first team in the future.

  • Boozy Blue says:

    I like the directness he shows in that youtube video and can play wide left or right, i’m not going to knock a player before he’s crossed the white line at STANS so some comments are a bit harsh.
    For a free transfer worth a look or a punt so to speak

  • Owen says:

    Richard’s comments regarding yesterday’s game were encouraging (albeit being an u21 match).
    I would also like to point out to those ridiculing his track record that we signed someone in the summer with a proven track record in the championship – Darren Ambrose – whose performances so far have been awful to say the least. Point being looking at his history is not always the best indicator.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Dya reckon if Robbie Fowler comes we could get Michael Owen to partner him up front?

    After all it worked for Liverpool

  • Aussieblue says:

    Swissjonny, yes someone emailed it to me….Couldn’t stop laughing and watched it 4 times. I look forward to the Villa fans’ riposte, although the subtitles will probably be monosyllabic onomatopoeia with sequential expletives serving as nouns, verbs, conjunctives and adjectives.

  • Kimberley Blue says:

    Looks like he knows how to get penalties if nothing else.
    Reminds me of Fabrice Muamba the way he runs.. and we sold him for £5m

  • DoctorD says:

    Bit of a strange story about the lad, who’s certainly doing all he can to break into football. Doesn’t seem to have been working out though has it really? Credit it to him though for chasing all avenues — don’t think most 22-year-olds would make as much effort.

    http://www.thisisamericansoccer.com/tias-special-guests/the-curious-case-of-devann-yao/

  • Tom says:

    Despite having Petr Cech as No.1 and Belgian youngster Thibaut Courtois impressing on loan at Atletico Madrid, Chelsea see Butland as a long-term investment.
    this is what chelsea think so.. basically there going to buy him for 2.5-3mill with another 1million when he has 10 england caps.. and there idea of a investment is sell him in 2-3 seasons for 10-15mill

  • Cornish Bluenose says:

    I think the guy has got determination to say the least..! Just imagine what it must be like to live in so many different places as a youngster trying to make it as a professional footballer, and he is still trying..! Give the guy a chance..I am sure he could be employed for the rest of the season on one weeks wages that Chris Burke earns. Take a look at the madness of the transfer market at the moment and the way some players are demanding massive wages and the behaviour of agents. LC has little choice at the moment..when the going gets tough..get on with the job and stop moaning..it just holds everyone back. Try to imagine what it must be like trying to provide leadership at the club at the moment, not just the playing staff but all the other teams of people that make up BCFC and their families. Life is tough for a lot of people at the moment so lets just get on with it and give LC and the players the support they need. KRO

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    Jan Molby

  • Tilton10 says:

    Your so negative mate! Please keep it to yourself before you slash your wrists!

  • BobBobandTrev says:

    I’m thinking about coming out of retirement lads, what do you think? if I paid pannu fifty quid a week Would i get a game?

  • Pete says:

    Left wing problem solved- he is called Mitch Hancox!!!

  • Jumbo says:

    I thought this was going to be an entry about a BIH director! What a pessimist I am!

  • Big G says:

    So we release a young midfielder who then signs for a Belgian first division side, and offer a trial to a player who has lost his place in a Belgian second division side. Surely we can’t be in that much trouble that it has to boil down to this. I’m sure that there are plenty of young lads playing in the lower leagues waiting for a break who can play better than this lad. He looks clumsly with no end product, why waste time on looking at foreign footballers who can’t prove their worth at such a poor standard. KRO

  • Wingman Blue says:

    “although his shooting seems to leave a little to be desired”.
    In a team of poor shots (and Marlon) he should fit in nicely.

  • grIimsley says:

    Yao was the best player at the u-21 match by far-the conditions were horrible but he played a good match. Well done to the lad.

  • bluesfanman says:

    A young lad who plays wide 2 feet and cheap I say sign the lad.. Looks good on dribbling, taking a man or 2 on fast paced , better than ambrose ,, get him on the team


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