Sports / Soccer

Real Madrid Foundation promotes development of youth soccer in China

By Sun Xiaochen ( Updated: 2016-10-13 18:06

Former Brazilian international Roberto Carlos said children must be given the right coaching and facilities

With China's poor performance in the Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup still hurting, the Real Madrid Foundation looks set to help remedy the game's underdevelopment in China, starting from grassroots.

The Real Madrid Foundation, an institution of the top Spanish club, held a China projects presentation at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday to introduce existing youth soccer training and education programs as well as those to be launched by the foundation in the country.

Wu Youwen, the club's Asia Pacific CEO, and legendary player Roberto Carlos, the club's ambassador in Asia, joined Andres Muntaner, head of the foundation's campus and clinic department, to elaborate on the institution's commitment and projects to help improve youth training through dedicated schools and clinics across China.

According to Wu, the foundation's soccer clinics will continue visiting Chinese cities such as Beijing, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, and Sanya and Haikou in Hainan province, through November, with local children training under advanced coaching staff during five-day courses.

The foundation concluded a five-day clinic in Shanghai on Oct 7, with 150 junior players practicing soccer fundamentals and earning RMF Clinic certificates.

The training schedule at the clinics is designed by the foundation's technical team and it follows the same methodology employed at Real Madrid. Each of the training sessions is led by foundation coaches, enabling participants' progress to be assessed and monitored.

The foundation's tour comes just in time after the Chinese national team suffered a 2-0 loss to Uzbekistan in its fourth game of the Asian final qualifying round for the 2018 Russia World Cup on Tuesday.

After the loss in Tashkent, the Chinese team is second-from-bottom in its group, with just one point after four games. Its chances of finishing in the top two to qualify directly for the tournament have become a mere theoretical possibility, despite six more matches to play through September next year.

Carlos, the former Brazilian international left-back, said on Thursday that the current standard of the Chinese national team could be improved as long as the governing bodies and the foundation continue to invest in youth training.

"I've been part of Chinese soccer for years and one thing that they should consistently work on is to provide children with the right facilities and coaching, so they play the game growing up. The Real Madrid Foundation can help in this regard. Once this is done, I think China will become a world soccer power in the future," Carlos said.

The Real Madrid Foundation was created in 1997 as a tool through which to give Real Madrid a global presence and to implement its social objectives.

The foundation first expanded its outreach to China in October 2012 by joining hands with Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande to build a soccer school, which offers youth training as well as primary and secondary education at a complex including 45 pitches in Qingyuan, Guangdong province.

The school is attended by more than 2,700 boys and girls, with 150 Chinese and 22 Spanish coaches responsible for coaching soccer.

With the support of the China National Committee for the Wellbeing of Youth, the foundation opened the first charity soccer school, the Jinzhai Siyuan Primary and Secondary School, in the central province of Anhui in March.

The school has 456 students aged between 6 and 17, who are offered education and training from staff of Beijing Sport University.

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