China is now home to the largest Football Academy in the World
One of the most recent developments in Chinas newly found football domination is the Evergrande football school, located in Qingyuan.
In just 10 months a large patch of rural farmland has been converted into the largest Football Academy in the world, all for a price of $185 million.
The school, which houses nearly 3000 Chinese students and over 500 faculty members, consists of a swimming pool, dormitory, laboratory, multiple canteens, supermarkets and an entertainment centre.
It is home to 50 football pitches, which are used to train, play and compete. Every Saturday morning, the student’s families flock to the area to watch their children progress on the field. The Saturday competitions are used to put their skills to the test and ensure that each student is able to deal with the stresses of game play and has had sufficient practice in a game situation.
Although the students would prefer spend their days playing and practicing Football, Principal Liu Jiangnan works to ensure the budding football stars are rounded, intelligent people. One class in five is football training, with the remaining four being spent on traditional subjects such as math and history, with a slight football twist.
Top football clubs and business men around China are throwing money into supporting the football youth, however, experts say this isn’t purely for the love of the game, it’s all about creating a relationship with Xi.
The chance to give your child the opportunity to excel in Football does not come cheap. Unless you are lucky enough to score a scholarship to Evergrande Football Academy, one year will cost you up to 60,000 yuan ($9,200), a little bit over the average annual wage.
Just in case students at Evergrande forget, a 40-foot replica FIFA world cup trophy sits at the front doors, a constant reminder to students, visitors and staff of the ultimate goal.