West Coast New Area

Famed German soccer club starts Chinese youth league

By Xie Chuanjiao in Qingdao, Shandong | (China Daily) | 2023-05-09

FC Bayern and Qingdao West Coast New Area team up to set up school for sport

Young Chinese soccer players now have more opportunities to be trained by European coaches since a soccer school in Qingdao, Shandong province, run by German Bundesliga giant FC Bayern Munich announced the establishment of its first youth academy in China.

On April 8 and 9, the FC Bayern Football School Qingdao held a program to recruit 80 players born in 2014 and 2015.

Coaches gauged their performances during training sessions and games, and 20 standout players were chosen to join the school's U8 team, founding its first youth team.

Dominik Voglsinger, a manager at FC Bayern Munich, said that he was impressed by the attitude displayed by young players, adding that they have great potential to develop.

"For the next steps, coaches will help the players develop technical skills and a tactical mindset, and also improve their mental capabilities," said Voglsinger, who has 18 years of experience in youth soccer.

He pointed to the need to develop well-rounded abilities.

"At this age, it is important to learn other types of sports in order to learn different rhythms of movement. We have to try to find a good balance in training," said Voglsinger, adding that coaches will work with parents and teachers to help children grow up healthily.

Located in the Sino-German Ecopark in the Qingdao West Coast New Area, the FC Bayern Football School Qingdao is the result of a partnership, and an agreement was signed between the two sides in Berlin in October 2016 to create the first FC Bayern Munich soccer school in China.

The school is also home to the first FC Bayern Munich museum in China.

According to Zhang Yunqing, vice-director of the Sino-German Ecopark administrative committee, the school has eight high-standard fields with state-of-the-art facilities for indoor and outdoor training, as well as accommodation and catering.

"It helps develop soccer at school and sets different training goals and corresponding courses for coaches and adolescents, creating a 'Bayern model' for Chinese soccer," Zhang said.

Since its establishment, the school has hosted coaches from FC Bayern and has launched a host of youth programs.

It has also organized high-profile events, including the finals of the FC Bayern Youth Cup China and the Adidas Youth Cup.

"The school plays a big part in Sino-German sports exchange," Zhang said, adding that it plans to organize more games, international summer camps and other exchange activities to give young players ample opportunities to grow and hone their skills.

Seven-year-old Li Hanzhao was among the 20 selected. He said that he is excited to join the U8 team and didn't think he would be selected.

"My peers at the Bayern school are very talented, and it is more difficult to win here than at my primary school," said Li, who started playing the sport in kindergarten.

He intends to work hard at training and hopes that one day, he will play for Munich, just like his goalkeeper idol, Liu Shaoziyang.


Students of the FC Bayern Football School Qingdao practice soccer at the school in Qingdao, Shandong province. CHINA DAILY


A German coach watches students train at the school. CHINA DAILY