Kids get a kick out of 'school beyond the clouds'

China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-27 10:27
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Soccer team players train on the "Rosy Dream Soccer Field" at Wawu Primary School on March 16. HE HAIYANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Soccer teams helping children realize their athletic dreams, principal says

Amid the flowery Daliangshan Mountains of Zhaojue county in Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province, a group of children are playing on the new soccer field at Wawu Primary School.

The "Rosy Dream Soccer Field", which was opened at the end of December, is the second in the country to be sponsored by the China Woman's National Football Team.

Due to its remote location, Wawu is also known as the "school beyond the clouds". In 2018, its principal, Qubishigu, who has taught there for 20 years, set up a girls' soccer team — following the establishment of the boy's team some years before — in the hopes that it would help all the students achieve their athletic dreams. With the field completed, those dreams are a step closer to becoming reality.

The teams train each morning and evening.

"As their skills improve, they are becoming more confident," Qubishigu told reporters, adding that after several years, the girls' team has dozens of players.

Now, more and more children in Daliangshan are enjoying the joy of playing soccer.

On March 19, the principal hit a switch and lit the new field up. The girls began evening training to prepare for an upcoming league game scheduled for April.

After three years, Jiniuwuzuo, the team captain, can head the ball 500 times in a row and keeps a card of soccer legend Lionel Messi in her schoolbag.

"I want to be a star like him," she said.

Since the teams were created, more and more children in Wawu have been admitted to better middle schools, and have gone on to play on high school soccer teams.

The school has also undergone many changes. More spacious, brighter classrooms have been built, and there are now 226 students.

The school's motto is written in red letters on the walls of the classrooms: "Let the mountain school become a place for dreams".

"I want to get more children involved in soccer and help them achieve their dreams," Qubishigu said.

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