Adidas plays key role in national sports
Peng Weiguo, the retired Chinese soccer player, has attributed his career success to the professional training he received since the age of five.
“My dad sent me and my brother to learn how to play properly when we were really young,” he said, recalling the gruelling yet exciting training sessions every morning during his primary school. “A good start is vital to success.”
Nowadays, however, he says children with an interest in soccer can go very few places to play, let alone be coached as he was.
But that might all be about to change, with the ongoing help of German sportswear giant Adidas AG.
The company has announced its biggest grassroots investment ever with the launch of an Adidas Youth Football Tournament in China, which it hopes will attract thousands of top players across four cities in China to a series of competitive matches.
The event is the latest in a series of programs launched by Adidas that will focus on the long-term development of China’s youth soccer, including youth leagues, coaching training courses and player development programs.
Colin Currie, managing director of Adidas Group, Greater China, said: “By investing in China’s youth football, we will inspire a new generation of fans and nurture a new generation of players.
“We’ve had a strong track record in supporting grassroots sports in this market and believe our programs will accelerate football in China.”
Since 2009, Adidas has supported the country’s biggest grassroots soccer program, “China School Football”, which now claims to reach 2.7 million students in more than 5,000 schools in 123 cities.
The program also focuses on coaching and training programs and claims to have trained more 7,500 teachers and coaches.
The company also supports 40 amateur soccer leagues through the Adidas Champions League program and trains more than 500 Chinese professional coaches each year under the Adidas Coach Training program.
Adidas has also focused on developing sport of all kinds in China over the years through various grassroots initiatives, sponsoring athletes, for instance, and play-based CSR programs.
Its grassroots initiatives, which include the Adidas High School Basketball League and Adidas Running Tribes workshop, have reached thousands of participants across the country, it says.
The company also engages consumers in training, running and outdoor events that reach tens of thousands of sports fans each year.
For the last five consecutive years, the company has sponsored the Beijing Marathon, China’s largest marathon, which attracts more than 30,000 runners from around the world. It also sponsors two national teams — volleyball and fencing
Teenagers wearing Adidas sportswear play soccer in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in this file photograph. The company supports 40 amateur soccer leagues through the Adidas Champions League program