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Youth soccer program connects Beijing school students with EPL

By Sun Xiaochen Friday, 24 Jul 2015 17:30

Never in their wildest dreams would players from Beijing's Tongzhou Yunhe Primary School imagine one day they could watch a live English Primer League soccer match in the United Kingdom.

Thanks to the Premier Skills, a youth soccer promotion program initiated by UK automobile manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, students from the eastern Beijing primary school will be able to travel to the UK in September to attend various soccer exchange activities with their British counterparts and to watch a live EPL match as the winning squad of the final of the PS campus tournament.

The squad from Tongzhou Yunhe Primary School was among 20 primary schools in Beijing taking part in school-based training sessions and the inter-school tournament, which kicked off on July 13.

Players from another finalist team of Tsinghua University Primary School will also be invited to the UK for interactive and entertaining soccer exchange activities as well as community soccer exploration tours.

It's been the second year on JLR's committee to help youth soccer development in China since it established the Jaguar Land Rover China Children & Youth Dream Fund last May. Through the fund, the company supports development of children and youth in four areas including Sports for All, Road Safety and Social Care.

At the first anniversary of the fund on May 28, a coach training session was held in Beijing as the start of this year's event, which saw physical education teachers from 20 participating schools learn youth training expertise from visiting British coach Paul Hughes, who has trained players at EPL level.

This year's program was jointly organized JLR, British Council and the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation with a goal to benefit 8,000 children and youth in China within a year.

Through classroom tactical sessions and drills on the pitch, Hughes showed how leading-edge training methods can help children improve their soccer skills. He also spoke to children at the event, passing on valuable advice about how to warm up and stretch properly in order to avoid injuries.

"It's really exciting to be here in Beijing and part of the Jaguar Football Campus, which is extending the Premier Skills program and its unique football playing, coaching and referee training to thousands of youngsters across China," said Hughes.

This year's initiative also includes a youth referee training program held in August in Shanghai, which will involve more than 500 students from primary schools to colleges.

"Today we will witness what the young people have learnt: the importance of training well, working as a team, communication and of course accuracy," said Richard Shore, acting regional president of Jaguar Land Rover Greater China on Wednesday.

"Yet of even greater value are the cognitive skills that these young people will have gleaned from sport. The merits of working as a team, remaining calm under pressure and showing determination to overcome obstacles will serve them well in life," said Shore.



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