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CHINA, THE FOOTBALL AND THE SPANISH LANGUAGE: SWEET TIMES

Beijing / China has long sought that the national football team to become a world power and it’s in this context which Spanish-speaking coaches have become an important driver in the country’s grassroots football thanks to their football knowledge and their language.

It is six o’clock in the evening at the football facilities of the Western School of Beijing, an international school on the outskirts of the city, where a group of children between 9 and 11 years old is looking forward to the time of training to enjoy a sport that helps them to disconnect from school stress.

China, England or Pakistan are some of the countries that combine in that track where you can see the same feeling, the love for football and the will to learn the basics of football in a pavilion set up for the winter season.

VENELUEZAN TEACHER AND COACH ARMANDO HERNÁNDEZ

At the head of the group is Armando Hernández, the co-founder of the South American Football Association (SAFA) school, one of the few Latin American schools in China.

“The teacher” tries, at 31 years of age and after leaving the elite of Venezuelan football due to problems in the hamstrings, to transmit to future generations his passion and the knowledge acquired in his stage of football through this Spanish-speaking school.

Formed by a team of eight coaches, the training alternates between Spanish and English so that the kids, from four to fifteen years old, learn both soccer and languages.

“We are selling a South American style of teaching. (…) We try to give it a cultural touch, to include our culture in the organization and in the way of running the school”, argues Hernández, referring to the type of training.

Yang Shinyi, father of one of the children, thinks football is a very international sport, so bringing him to these schools is an opportunity to be involved in this kind of environment.

“In recent years, there have been many foreign coaches who have a very particular way of working and I think it can be very beneficial,” Yang explains.

CHINA INVESTS IN FOOTBALL

Since the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, made public his will that his country competed at the same level as selections like Brazil or the recent champion of the world, France, the economic investment that has been carried out in the sector has increased.

This is where the work of foreign coaches comes into play, very well valued in the Chinese sports field, where for some time they have been betting on them to try to solidify the structure of football in the country.

However, there are nationalities slightly above in the preferences of Chinese football coaches, such as Spanish, English or Italian, as explained by Cameron Wilson, creator of the news portal “Wild East Football” and expert in Chinese football.

“Latin American coaches are well valued (in China) because they come from places with a rich and deep soccer tradition,” says Wilson.

Although the expert in Asian football made it clear that those who enjoy “many opportunities” are those from Spain, England and Italy.

SWEET TIMES FOR SPANISH LANGUAGE IN CHINA

For his part, Hernandez also believes something similar: “The Latin American coach is some step below (compared to European), but it gives great value to the knowledge and experience we have in our countries, in terms of teaching and development of players”.

The sweet times that Spanish lives in China, with a very pronounced growth curve of speakers thanks to the Government’s promotion policies, can be an important factor for the Latin American coach to achieve a status at the level of Europeans.

This is so, that some Chinese soccer schools have begun to incorporate Latin American technicians into their staff, as is the case of the EIC School of Canton (South China), which has eight members to lead the soccer courses during the school year.

In addition, China aims to open around 50,000 soccer academies by 2025 and train about 1,000 players a year in each of them.

This fact opens an optimistic outlook for the Spanish-speaking trainer, who has that language advantage that so appeals in China. (December 10, 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

News related in video:


Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)

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Question 1
La noticia trata de...  
A
la contratación de entrenadores hispanohablantes en escuelas de fútbol en China.
B
los títulos que China quiere conquistar con su selección de fútbol.
C
cómo es la selección china de fútbol.
Question 2
Según el texto, esos entrenadores son contratados...  
A
simplemente para que los niños se entretengan jugando al fútbol.
B
para que algún día la selección china de fútbol sea un referente mundial.
C
para que estos aprendan cómo los chinos juegan al fútbol.
Question 3
Según la noticia, aumentó el número de escuelas de fútbol en China...    
A
antes de que el presidente chino hiciera unas declaraciones relacionadas con el fútbol.
B
ya que un presidente europeo dijo que le gustaría que China fuera una potencia mundial.
C
después de que el presidente chino hiciera unas declaraciones relacionadas con el fútbol.
Question 4
En el texto se dice que...    
A
al presidente chino le gustaría que la selección china se convirtiera en un referente mundial.
B
el presidente chino asevera que China ya es un referente mundial en fútbol.
C
al presidente chino le da igual que la selección china de fútbol mejore su nivel.
Question 5
Generalmente, los entrenadores europeos son los más valorados.    
A
Así es.
B
No se sabe.
C
Para nada.
Question 6
Según el texto, en esas clases de fútbol...  
A
también se habla en español para que los niños aprendan idiomas.
B
solo se habla en chino.
C
se habla en español ya que es el único idioma que habla el entrenador.
Question 7
En el vídeo se dice que...  
A
China no tiene la intención de invertir dinero en escuelas de fútbol.
B
China forma a millones de jugadores de media cada año.
C
China quiere formar a unos mil jugadores de media en los próximos años.
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