Football association vows to build 10,000 soccer kindergartens
China’s soccer authority has vowed to open 10,000 soccer kindergartens across the country by 2020.
The children’s soccer project hosted by the Chinese Football Association was launched in Beijing on Wednesday to promote soccer among children 3-6 years old and expand the soccer population, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.
The plan calls for opening 10,000 soccer kindergartens by 2020.
Starting Wednesday, the Chinese Football Association will hold a youth soccer promotion month to mobilize sub-associations and society to promote soccer through seminars and work with professional soccer leagues in China.
In 1979, Deng Xiaoping, a soccer fan, promoted the idea that cultivating soccer players should start young.
For children at kindergarten age, playing soccer is more a game to keep them occupied, Wang Dazhao, a Beijing-based soccer commentator, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
“They do not necessarily understand the rules,” Wang said.
The project could gradually nurture soccer talent in China, Wang believed.
“But the popularization of soccer among children would be long-term, maybe one or two generations,” he said.
The Ministry of Education in February announced a plan to raise the number of “schools characterized by soccer” to 20,000 by the end of the year and 50,000 by 2025.
China launched its soccer reform program in 2015 and unveiled an ambitious blueprint in April 2016 to get 50 million children and adults playing soccer by the end of the decade, with the ultimate goal of becoming a “world soccer power” by 2050.
China’s men’s soccer team has qualified for the World Cup finals once, in 2002.