Future Soccer Stars announces shortlisted candidates
The "China’s Future Soccer Star Program," sponsored by the Wanda Group, has selected 60 candidates who will have the chance of going to Spain for 3-year trainings in top soccer clubs.
After rounds of selections by 12 coaches from three Spanish first-division soccer clubs, Atletico de Madrid, Villarreal and Valencia, the list was announced at Wanda Institute in Langfang, Hebei Province on May 13, 2013.
A total of 30 of the candidates will be sent to Spain this year and the Wanda Group will cover most of their expenses, including training fees, board and lodging, sports equipments and yearly return flight tickets between Spain and China.
"The Spanish soccer clubs regard the ‘soccer stars’as the future of China’s soccer sport, and believe the young players will help the feeble Chinese soccer team make a turnaround and become a world-class team in the future," said Shi Xueqing, Head of the Wanda’s Soccer Works Department.
It has been one year since Wanda carried out the Future Soccer Star Program. The group has sent 30 teenage soccer players to Spain last August. After eight-month trainings, the future soccer stars have made prominent progress on soccer skills, Spanish, as well as assimilating into the local culture.
This year’s competition is even more intense since the program has become well-known among Chinese parents and young football fans.
Coaches from Spanish soccer clubs watched more than a hundred of matches by nearly 1,000 young players from 60 teams at soccer training bases in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yingde, Guangdong Province from February 16 to 27 this year. Over 160 players were selected.
In the following two months, the list was further whittled down to 100 players after eliminating those who appeared to be overage in the bone test. All players must be born after January 1, 2000.
Another 30 candidates from soccer clubs, soccer associations and campus teams also joined with the 100 candidates, making the number of entries to about 130.
The 60 lucky finalists were picked out after another round of selection by Spanish coaches.
The list can also be found on Sina website and the official websites of the three Spanish soccer clubs.