In many schools in Shanghai, football is just an optional class and usually not a popular one. To make those classes more attractive, city authorities have decided to train more professional football teachers to inspire students' passion for the sport.
32-year-old Peng Jianchao is one of the only two soccer teachers at this high school in Yangpu District. After retiring from a professional soccer team here, he has been teaching the sport for more than five years. The school has more than 1,000 students, but only about one-fifth of them have chosen soccer as an optional class, and most of them are new to the sport.
"In the class, we practice passing the ball, shooting and other basic skills. I want more real games," said a student named Jiang Yunqing.
"Not many girls like this sport. Some of the weak boys get tired running in the sun. Few people play the sport, and even fewer like it," said a student named Wang Feifan.
Instead of teaching the techniques and skills to his students, Peng said his main job is raising enthusiasm for soccer among the students.
"I don't think I have big problem in professional soccer knowledge and techniques. What I need to improve is my organizing ability, communication ability and how to make the classes more interesting," said Peng Jianchao, soccer teacher, from No.1 Affiliated Middle School of Tongji University.
Peng is among more than 1,500 local primary and middle school teachers who will be receiving three months of training from professional soccer coaches and experts. Each school has been asked to have at least one teacher take part. They will learn practical skills about on-field soccer teaching and knowledge about how to establish soccer associations or organizing soccer-related activities in school.
"We want to bring more students back to the soccer field with this training, to let more children who don't understand soccer to get to know the sport and practice it, to enlarge the number of people involved in the sport," said Luo Xiangbao, Shanghai School Soccer Leugue.
Lou said ten soccer teachers will be further selected from this training and get a chance for more training in France in September. In 2012, Shanghai established the School Soccer League to promote the sport among young students. So far, more than 9,000 students have taken part in league matches.