Xi places high hopes on soccer development

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, March 30, 2014
Adjust font size:

China should focus more on developing and promoting soccer among youth, President Xi Jinping said after he and First Lady Peng Liyuan took time out from his first state visit to Europe to watch the Sino-German Junior Football Friendship Match in Berlin Stadium on Saturday.

Xi also told a group of Chinese soccer players, who were about age 10, in Germany on an exchange program that he hopes China's youth will produce outstanding players, including international stars.

He told the children that training in Germany will influence their lives.

"(It) will play a guiding role in the development of China's youth soccer and make more youngsters devoted to soccer," Xi said.

He also pledged to promote soccer exchanges between China and Germany.

Xi has been pushing for the sport's development in China. The national team - once a star in Asia - has declined over the past 20 years.

The Chinese leader has made several public comments on his wishes for the game's development.

Xi told Alain Perrin, who was just appointed chief coach of China's national football team, at a reception earlier this week in Paris that "Chinese football fans have placed high expectations" on him.

The 57-year-old French coach's main task will be leading the team to compete in the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia.

"I wish him good luck," Xi said.

China's Zhidan Junior Football Team was selected from more than 5,000 children aged 10 to 14 in Zhidan county, Shaanxi province - Xi's hometown.

They were sponsored by Volkswagen Group China, which participated in the Rainbow Bridge program conducted by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The program is intended to establish bridges among various possibilities and networks available to major companies and the social needs of China's revolutionary bases.

Before the friendship match, Zhidan's team trained for several days with German champion youth team VfL Wolfsburg in the German soccer club's headquarters.

Joint training camps' objective is to promote exchange between Germany and China, and offer young people professional sports coaching.

Wang Maomao was too excited to fall asleep on Friday night.

"I knew I'd play soccer in the presence of our President Xi. I feel so proud," she said on Saturday.

The 11-year old was the youngest of her team's five girls, yet also the lineup's star.

1  2  >  

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter