Young stars have eyes on Europe

By Qiu Bo ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-04-13 07:17:45

Young stars have eyes on Europe 

 photo by QIU BO

Ambitious young soccer player from countries that are not major soccer powers can struggle to gain recognition from top European clubs. But it can be done. All it requires is for a coach at one of those clubs to spot your natural talent, and if he has an open mind you might get your chance.

Young stars have eyes on Europe

Tracking her homecoming 

Young stars have eyes on Europe

Mounting a musical peak 

Even now, 19-year-old Wang Chengkuai does not know exactly what his idol, Dennis Bergkamp, the legendary Dutch former international, Arsenal star and now assistant manager at Ajax, saw in him during his trial.

"Maybe he just saw my hunger (to play here)," Wang says.

Ajax, four-time winners of the European Cup/European Champion League, is based in Amsterdam and is renowned for its junior academy, where it hothouses talented young players from around the world.

Wang was recommended for a trial by former Ajax coach Henk ten Cate, who worked in China in 2012.

But although Wang has impressed Bergkamp with his abilities as a second striker in the reserve team, that is where he has remained.

Nevertheless, Wang is still determined to forge a successful career in European soccer.

"Even if I develop into one of China's best players, I will still be far from world-class," he says. "What I really want is to play in Europe, among the world's top footballers."

The 20-year-old forward Wang Shangyuan, who signed a three-year contract with Club Brugge, one of Belgian's best clubs, in July 2013, offered a similar sentiment.

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