A new center for football excellence has opened in Guangdong and it's aiming to become the largest professional football academy in the world. It's hoped the Evergrande Football School in Qingyuan City will help raise the standard of Chinese football and turn out a few superstars along the way.
A professional football training school, where students can both live and learn, financed by the Evergrande Group, the school covers an area of more than a hundred hectares allowing for 81 football pitches.
And there's quality as well as quantity, the school is employing 15 coaches from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Fernando Sanchez Cipitria, Tech. Director, Evergrande Football School, said, "Real Madrid has a hundred year history. The club has had lots of high points, and some low ones as well. The aims are to not only cultivate football stars, but also very good people.
Evergrande is responsible for the daily operation of the school while the coaches look after professional football training. The training schedule was designed according to Real Madrid's selection, competition and evaluation systems.
Fernando Sanchez Cipitria, Tech. Director, Evergrande Football School, said, "We make different training plans for students at different ages. They won't get too much power training when they're younger -- that's a crucial time for developing basic technique."
Zhou Suian, Training Director, Evergrande Football School, said, "The foreign concept of training is to focus on quality instead of quantity during the students' development. In this respect, we have absorbed a lot of new training concepts.
Schooling also includes cultural education. Every week, students only have four and half hours of football training. The rest is study on other courses.
Cai Zhenhua, Vice-Director, Chinese Sports Administration, said, "Chinese football needs the support of the country, society and people. I believe Chinese football has a good future."
Football schools were once popular across the nation. But as Chinese football declined, very few schools survived.
The establishment of Evergrande is seen as the start of a new era, an upgraded version of the old system.
What effect it will have on Chinese football in the long term, remains to be seen. Read more :