Xi places high hopes on soccer development

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, March 30, 2014
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"This German trip will be a highlight of my whole life, for sure," she said.

"And the president's attention to us further strengthens my determination to become a professional player."

China's State General Administration of Sport deputy director Cai Zhenhua told China Daily before the friendship match that: "Children are fundamental to soccer development. We expect and encourage more schools in China to make sports a key focus in comprehensive education."

Volkswagen AG board of management chairman Martin Winterkorn said: "Football links people throughout the world. That has been very clear today. I am very pleased that Volkswagen is able to open up new prospects for young people through football as part of social projects."

The Zhidan soccer association's head Ding Changbao said the group not only provides student trainings conducted by amateur coaches but also organizes regular tournaments among primary and middle schools.

"This makes soccer a sport for all children," Ding said.

"We have recently started to provide soccer-related games to local kindergartens to arouse enthusiasm from younger ages."

VfL Wolfsburg Football School head Roy Prager said the Chinese students exceeded his expectations.

"I was surprised by these youth players' skills and their enthusiasm, though they live in less-developed areas," he said.

"Some of them are even capable of becoming professional football players. I really hope that I can soon go to China to participate in the training program for those children and invite more young players who love football to Germany."

VfL Wolfsburg vice-director of sales Andreas Kruse said the coaches have identified some budding players with potential among the kids. They intend to invite one - especially a kid with talent at using his or her left leg - to join the VfL Wolfsburg youth team on a trial basis.

VfL Wolfsburg plans to hold training camps for young talent and enthusiasts in Shanghai and Jilin's provincial capital Changchun this year. It also hopes to establish permanent soccer schools in China to help promote the sport among kids.

"We hope our efforts will help these impressive children fulfill their Chinese dream of being a true football player," Kruse said.

Zhang Haohao, a 13-year-old defender, said the three-day training helped him improve a lot, "especially on finding the right position to work the field".

"And meeting VfL Wolfsburg players inspired me to put more effort into training," Zhang said.

"I dream of becoming such a professional."

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