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Youth program urged by soccer boss

[ 2009-11-16 10:54]     字号 [] [] []  
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A visiting FIFA official said he was shocked by the small soccer population in China and has advised the country to develop the sport by building a youth program.

"I was surprised to find there are only tens of thousands of teenagers playing soccer in China," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said at a signing ceremony with CCTV on Thursday in Beijing. "I originally expected it to be 30 million to 40 million—you know, this is a country with 1.3 billion people."

The registered number of teenage players slumped from 650,000 in the early 1990s to about 30,000 in 2007 while the number of soccer academies fell from 4,300 to 20, according to the Chinese soccer registration system.

"The first thing to do is have more kids playing football to make it really popular at the grassroots level. That's where the professional players and the national force comes from," Valcke said.

"We will collaborate with the Chinese Football Association on a youth program here. It means a lot to the development of the No 1 sport worldwide."

Meanwhile, the official also said he hoped China could reach the World Cup finals in the near future to boost the sport among youngsters.

"I hope China will qualify for the finals again some day," the secretary general said. "It will bring more kids to the field."

Coupled with a shrinking pool of young people playing soccer in the country is the national squad's poor run at international competitions over the past few years.

After the team's debut and only appearance at the World Cup finals in 2002, where it lost all three group matches without scoring a goal, the China team failed to qualify for the 2006 Germany World Cup and then next year's event in South Africa.


1. How many teenage soccer players were there in China in 2007?

2. Where do the professional players and national force come from, according to Jerome Valcke?

3. When was the only time China made it to the World Cup Finals?


1. 30,000.

2. At the grassroots level.

3. 2002.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Youth program urged by soccer boss

About the broadcaster:

Youth program urged by soccer boss

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.