Football kicks off at city schools

By Xie Chuanjiao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-05-23 07:36:10

Qingdao was one of the first cities in the country to promote football education among students.

In 2007, the city launched a program to strengthen football education in all its schools and the sport has gained popularity on campuses across Qingdao.

Currently, more than 200 primary and middle schools in the city have football education programs, with more than 95,000 students playing the sport on a regular basis.

 Football kicks off at city schools

Former football star David Beckham taught students skills for the sport during his visit to Qingdao in 2013.

 Football kicks off at city schools

Students at Tongchuanlu Primary School at the opening ceremony of Licang district's football tournament.

"Teenagers in Qingdao have shown great interest in football activities," said Wang Quan, deputy head of Qingdao Education Bureau.

Young players in Qingdao have displayed strength in the game and at a middle school tournament for Shandong province last year, both the women's and men's soccer teams from Qingdao won the top prizes.

To continue support for the development of the sport, a special meeting last year, presided over by the city's Party chief Li Qun, set a goal to build Qingdao into a city renowned for football.

Qingdao and two other cities - Xiamen in Fujian province and Yanji in Jilin province - was selected by the State Council as a national-level campus football experimental zone.

The Qingdao city government invested 3.5 million yuan ($565,000) this year to boost football in schools.

Qingdao plans to create 100 football fields in communities across the city for the use of both students and residents. The total investment in football projects in the city is expected to reach 30 million yuan.

Qingdao is soon due to complete a football textbook, which will be given to students for free.

To nurture talented players and enrich students' extracurricular activity options, more football tournaments have been held for schools in the city. In Licang district alone, more than 700 students from 40 schools have taken part in games.

"It is an opportunity for students to exercise and master a sports skill," said Li Fengli, Party chief of Licang district.

The city's education bureau launched a program called "one yuan to watch China League", which saw the bureau team up with two local football clubs to allow students to watch China League games for just one yuan.

This year, the two clubs in Qingdao will play 59 matches and an estimated 100,000 students and 20,000 parents are expected to be able to watch the games live through the bureau's program.

Li Yalin, a sixth grader from the city's Chengyang district, was thrilled to have the opportunity to watch games in a stadium.

"It's different from watching on TV," she said. "I feel excited and it's just like I'm playing the game myself."

(China Daily 05/23/2015 page6)

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