East China's Shandong Province and Shanghai Municipality have announced plans to bring soccer instruction to more school children, part of China's plan to become a world power in the sport.
Shandong is expected to have 2,000 schools that offer soccer instruction by 2020, a move to improve students' physical fitness.
Authorities in Shandong also aim to offer students more choices of which sports they pursue, by allocating sufficient physical education teachers and updating equipment and facilities, local newspaper Dazhong Daily reported on Tuesday.
East China's Shanghai will offer soccer instruction at more than 1,000 schools by 2020 as part of a push to allow students with talent and interest in soccer to receive comprehensive training.
Authorities in Shanghai recently held a meeting and approved the program, thepaper.cn reported on Monday.
According to the national Ministry of Education, soccer training will be offered widely in primary schools, with talented students being funneled to more specialized schools as they go to middle and high school for further studies.
A total of 50,000 schools will feature soccer by 2025, under a national plan.
From 2015 to 2017, China invested more than 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) in pushing the development of soccer in schools across the country, chinanews.com reported in June.
Fan Zhiyi, a famous retired player, said that the development of soccer among youth must be premised upon helping young people develop and grow, Xinmin Evening News reported on July 14.
He said a good coach can inspire young people and help them find joy in the sport.