China’s solution to being bad at soccer: requiring every kid to play it
China’s solution to being bad at a sport: make everyone play it.
China are terrible at soccer. Their men’s team has only qualified for the World Cup once, in 2002, and they didn’t even scored a goal. They are ranked 88th in the world, which is way too low for President Xi Jinpang, who loves soccer and spent his 60th birthday watching his national team get beat. 5-1, by a Thailand youth team in 2013.
But President Xi has a solution: Require every Chinese child in school to play soccer:
“On November 27th it was announced that football would become a compulsory part of the national curriculum at schools. Wang Dengfeng, an education official, said improving the standard of football in China must ‘start with children.’ By 2017 some 20,000 schools are to receive new football pitches and training facilities, with the aim of creating 100,000 new players. In 2016 football will become an option in the national university-entrance exam. This could help overcome resistance among parents to their children being distracted from their academic studies by ball-kicking.”
So not only will soccer become part of the curriculum, but it will also qualify students for university.
China have had a good women’s team before, making the World Cup final in 1999, and while they’re not that good anymore, they’re still respectable. Their men on the other hand …
But now every child in the nation of 1.35 billion people will play the sport. That includes more than 650 million men. The country has also poured money into the sport, brought over coaches and done seemingly everything possible to ensure they can find 11 good players to play for their national team.
So now China are guaranteed to be good at soccer. Or especially embarrassed if they aren’t. But they should at least beat Thai youth teams.