China's top education authority on Tuesday released the country's first report on national youth pilot soccer academies. The country plans to build another 30,000 soccer academies by the end of 2025, with the ultimate goal of becoming a world soccer superpower.
According to the report, 24,126 primary, middle and senior high schools specializing in soccer training have been chosen as soccer academies in China. They plan to improve the system of the academies by honoring excellent players as national class athletes.
"We foster soccer talent by establishing a soccer player hierarchy system. For example, 352 students from junior and senior high schools have been awarded the title of national first-class athletes since 2018, and they can gain extra scores when they attend the national college entrance examinations to go to a better university," Wang Dengfeng, the director of Department of Physical, Health and Arts Education in the Ministry of Education, said at a press conference on Tuesday in Beijing.
"The soccer player hierarchy system is better than the previous one because players are chosen from different schools in the provinces, rather than choosing players from one champion team. It expands the selection scope and enhances the national youth pilot soccer academies plan," Meng Yanrong, an employee with the Department of Physical, Health and Arts Education in the Ministry of Education, told the Global Times.
Wang also said they are compiling a syllabus of soccer academies with a total of 360 classes and have made the classes into online teaching videos to enrich the sources of teaching material.
"We will officially open online training for soccer teachers based on the 360 teaching videos in October," Wang said.
Another measure for cultivating soccer talent is to learn from the European and Japanese training modes by investing high-quality resources of the sports system into the education system.
The blueprint of being a soccer superpower also includes kindergartens. China plans to select and build 3,000 pilot kindergartens that will specialize in soccer training in 2019, according to the report.
"We run soccer activities in each class every day, aiming to develop kids' interest in soccer and improve their health," Li Jianli, director of Mianhua Hutong Kindergarten in Beijing's Xicheng district, told the Global Times on Tuesday.