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Nanjing creating soccer schools

By Cang Wei in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-26 07:43

The provincial capital of East China's Jiangsu province will establish 120 specialized soccer schools and hire foreign coaches in 2017 to improve students' health.

According to Nanjing's education bureau, 208 sports teachers from 166 schools have been trained to teach at the specialized soccer schools, while 107 teachers from 62 schools have received training to be referees.

In addition to primary and middle schools, 13 kindergartens in Nanjing will have soccer teachers, including former professional players and foreign coaches.

Wu Xingli, director of Jianye District Experimental Kindergarten, said that such employees, hired by Nanjing Education Bureau, will bring a lot of fun to the children's school activities.

"While the 3-year-old children will mainly play soccer, the 4-year-olds will begin to receive simple training in movement, and the 5-year-olds will be taught techniques such as shooting and dribbling."

"Chinese coaches used to pay too much attention to physical training," said Qin Xiang, a sports teacher at Xincheng Middle School.

"Students get tired and bored easily. Foreign coaches usually bring games and lots of fun to their classes, and they have scientific training methods that we should learn."

While some foreign students start playing soccer in preschool, most Chinese students begin playing in middle school, where no professional soccer teachers are available, he added.

Zhang Ningsheng, director of Nanjing Sports Bureau's soccer development office, said that he hopes the level of soccer in schools can be greatly improved within two years, adding that the participation of foreign coaches will speed up such progress.

"Chinese students like the way foreign coaches teach soccer," Zhang said. "They begin the class and leave the playground with big smiles on their faces."

He added that the aim of establishing specialized soccer schools is not to develop more professional players, but to enable students to have fun. In addition to soccer skills, they can also improve their social and teamwork skills as well as their physical health.

To guarantee safety, many schools have bought soccer safety insurance for their students to gain parents' approval. More playgrounds will also be constructed in the city's schools.

To become a foreign coach in China, applicants need to pass several rounds of interviews. During recruitment in 2015, more than 1,600 people from countries including Argentina, the Netherlands and Germany applied for jobs. Among them 200 were given final interviews and 58 were employed.

By 2017, the Ministry of Education will establish about 20,000 specialized soccer schools across China.


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