Across China: Foreign coaches fuel Chinese children's World Cup dreams

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Their dream is becoming a reality, as free football training courses are now offered in many primary and secondary schools in Kaili City, thanks to Fengyun's football promotion program in cooperation with local government.

Before coming to Kaili, Hernandez spent two years as a football coach in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, but he moved to Kaili because he was touched by the local football atmosphere. Upon his arrival, he signed a two-year contract with Guizhou Fengyun, a football club dedicated to training young talents.

The young man stressed that for him it was "a beautiful opportunity" to be able to teach everything he knows about football to Chinese children.

Forty-eight-year-old Hernandez told Xinhua that it was the third time for him and Martinez to offer free instruction and training for the students.

By Xinhua writers Huang Yongxian, Luo Yu and Zhang Yiyi

"Our philosophy coincides -- by focusing more on the training of youths can we win the future," he said, addressing the fact that the process might be long, requiring 10 to 20 years of work.

"Run!" "Pass it!" "Shoot!" "Bravo!" ... As the small soccer players run and play with joy and dedication, the coaches cheer them on from the sidelines of the Zhenhua National Middle School football field in Kaili City of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture.

One shared hope for the coaches is to bring their families to live with them, and to witness and participate in the development of the sport in China.

"We are planning to bring two more foreign coaches here to expand our coaching team and offer regular training to more school children," said Yao Yu, the club's executive president.

For Martinez, the Chilean former player, a major problem is that he is not yet used to spicy food, one of the favorites of local people. In addition, he misses his two-year-old daughter, who lives in Chile.

"We organize teaching programs based on the boys' ages," explained Hernandez, "Our teaching methods were inspired by a system of football training in Spain, which offers quality and maturity."

The coaches are Jose Hernandez Suarez from Spain and his Chilean assistant Mauricio Javier Martinez Neira.

Hernandez also admitted that "grassroots" football in China still has a lot of room to develop. According to him, there are local leagues in many European cities, even among schools, where children can practice and compete to continually improve.

The young entrepreneur is confident that if this method of training is preserved, one day the Chinese team could return to the World Cup. If this happens, his dream is that there will be players in the field that Hernandez and Martinez are training today.

"Unlike Europe, this happens only once every two or three months in Kaili," he said. The former professional football player later became a football coach, and has spent over 20 years training children in Spanish clubs.

Martinez, the 24-year-old assistant and friend of Hernandez, used to play in the Chilean Second Division. In 2014, he went to Chengdu to work as a trainer for a local team. This year, he followed Hernandez's advice and returned to China, to help him train the young talents in Kaili.

According to Hernandez, the training includes interesting warm-up games, reasonable and scientific physical training, basic and practical skills, flexible and variable techniques and tactics, as well as matches between different teams.

For Hernandez, there is no big difference between teenagers in China and those in Europe. Although the average height of the Chinese students might be shorter, their passion to learn and strong will to win are as strong as other players in the world, Hernandez said.

However, life in Kaili is not easy for the teachers. For example, apart from Martinez and a club translator, Hernandez has no one to talk to in his native language.

Martinez is excited to see that children in Kaili have a passion and desire to compete, "What they need is to persist in working on their techniques," he said.

GUIYANG, July 3 (Xinhua) -- As the World Cup fever grips fans from all around the globe, a group of Chinese teenagers and two foreign football coaches gather for the third time for intensive training in the mountains of China's Guizhou Province.

The young man showed great confidence in the sport in China. "China has great potential in football, you just have to develop it, and in a few years the country will be able to become a global football power," he said.

"The other difference is that in China, we have government support for youth soccer players, which is rarely seen in Europe," the veteran coach said.