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Evergrande signs school soccer deal

Updated: 2014-12-29 07:40
By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)

Chinese Super League champion Guangzhou Evergrande has signed an agreement with a provincial soccer administrative center to develop training camps in amateur sports schools, as part of the latest nationwide effort to promote the sport.

Under the three-year agreement, the club will provide financial and coaching support to six schools in Foshan, Meizhou, Huizhou, Zhongshan, Zhanjiang and the Guangdong provincial people's sports center.

A professional Chinese soccer club has rarely teamed up with authorities to develop the sport in schools.

"The agreement is aimed at deepening cooperation with professional clubs to develop youth soccer, which is of great importance in promoting overall soccer development in schools," said Zhao Shaoming, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Sports Bureau.

Before the agreement, the four-time Chinese Super League winner, which is under the executive management of former Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro, had also signed a contract with the local soccer administrative authority to develop a provincial-level soccer team, which will compete in the national games in Tianjin in 2017.

"The club will sign contracts with young players, who clock good performances in the next three years, to help them begin their professional careers," said Kang Bing, general manager of Guangzhou Evergrande.

In collaboration with Spanish La Liga giant Real Madrid, the big-spending Chinese club, which is owned by Chinese property giant Evergrande Group, has also built a soccer school in Qingyuan in northern Guangdong.

Since its opening in 2012, the school has sent several groups of students to Spain for soccer training and academic study, Kang said.

"We believe that boosting soccer promotion in schools is the key to sustainable development for a professional club," Kang said.

Following the qualification of Guangzhou Evergrande and Guangzhou R&F for the AFC Champions League this year, the local government has outlined an ambitious plan to boost youth soccer development in schools.

By 2016, Guangzhou will develop 5,000 soccer teams in 500 pilot schools to promote local soccer development, according to the local government.

The city has seven training bases for youth soccer across its major districts, said Wang Dong, vice-mayor of Guangzhou.

"Enhanced soccer development in schools is of great importance to future professional soccer development," Wang said.

In China, soccer courses will be mandatory at an increasing number of schools, a move designed to achieve the country's goal of becoming a soccer power.

"The development of soccer in schools forms the cornerstone to realizing China's soccer dream of joining the world's elite at major soccer events," Wang said.

Evergrande signs school soccer deal

A student practices with a trainer at Guangzhou Evergrande's soccer school. Qiu Quanlin / China Daily

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