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Kindergarten kids to learn soccer skills

(Global Times)    13:40, April 01, 2019

Christopher Loch, FC Bayern coach of international programs, is directing soccer teachers at Bayern's Football School in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province. Photo: Li Hao/ GT

China's top education authority has decided to set up some pilot kindergartens that will specialize in soccer training as part of the country's efforts to have 50 million children and adults playing the sport by the end of this decade, with the ultimate goal becoming a world soccer superpower.

Provincial education authorities could recommend 50-200 kindergartens for the project. The number can be adjusted based on the actual situation and the top priority is to ensure the kindergarten's soccer activities are developed appropriately, according to an announcement posted Friday on WeChat account "zhongguoxiaoyuanzuqiu" (China school soccer), an official account under the Ministry of Education.

The kindergartens chosen need to develop children's interest in soccer and promote their physical and mental health by developing various soccer games, and encourage children to participate in activities including running, climbing, throwing and ball play to promote basic sports ability.

Kindergartens should prioritize children's health and safety and improve children's ability to perceive and avoid danger and injury through soccer related games, said the account.

Teachers could use foam balls instead of real soccer balls as they are softer and will not pose a risk to the children, said Liu Lu, a kindergarten teacher in Wuqing district of Tianjin Municipality.

More than 20,000 primary and high schools nationwide offer soccer coaching, and these schools have become mainstays of the country's soccer program, the ministry said in 2018.

"We have soccer coaches for kids who are over 5, and many other kindergartens in Beijing run soccer programs too," Li Jianli, director of Mianhua Hutong Kindergarten in Beijing's Xicheng district, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Liang Jun)

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