Business / Industries

Jiangsu hopes children will have a ball

By Cang Wei and Wang Xin (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-23 07:54

Jiangsu province in East China plans to establish 100 kindergartens specializing in soccer by 2020.

The move is part of a provincial scheme to develop 10,000 young players during the next 10 years.

Already children are being encouraged to take up the sport at an early age.

Song Antao, who lives in Nanjing's Gulou district, said that her 4-year-old son's kindergarten has asked every pupil to bring a soccer ball to play in the schoolyard.

"Each grade of the kindergarten has formed a soccer team," Song said. "It teaches the children to cooperate with each other. I think it's an excellent idea."

More than 100 standard soccer pitches will also be built in the province's 1,000 elementary and high schools, according to the provincial soccer development plan.

The blueprint also involves setting up at least three schools specializing in soccer by next year.

Students in the province will be covered by an insurance scheme worth about 40 million yuan ($6.3 million) annually, in case they are injured playing the game.

Du Wei, director of the sports, health and arts department under the provincial educational bureau, also confirmed that more foreign coaches will be recruited to help develop the sport in Jiangsu's schools and colleges.

"The number of those colleges will be increased to 20 in the near future," Du said.

"But first we will need to get approval from the Ministry of Education before we can roll them out."

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