MADRID, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese U-15 football team is carrying out a 10-month training in Spain as part of a project elaborated by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) and the Spanish Football League (LaLiga).
"The project includes football training, but also academic and cultural education. As well as playing games and training, the boys will also go to 8 hours of classes a day and learn languages such as Spanish and English," Martina Olivas, the International Deputy Director of LaLiga explained to Xinhua on Monday.
The initiative sees a group of the best 14- and 15-year-old Chinese players come to Spain, where they are competing in a regional league in the Spanish capital city of Madrid, before stepping up to face the youth teams of clubs such as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Getafe.
"We are very happy with the players who have come. They are really nice boys and we laugh a lot with them even though we don't speak the language," commented coach Alfredo Santaelena, a former Spain international who played for clubs such as Atletico Madrid and Deportivo la Coruna.
"Technically they are very good and they are physically very strong, but we have to work on tactics and teamwork," he said.
Alfredo also believes that the Chinese players also need to become more 'streetwise' in their football because "it will help them to compete when they are older."
Meanwhile, the Chinese team delegate Li Lin highlighted the high level of the rivals the Chinese youngsters had encountered in their first games in Spain.
"We are playing and training at a good level and we have seen that the tactical aspect of the team has improved in the games we have played in the past few days," he said.
The CFA has also sent the female U-15 team to train in Madrid, although they will only remain in the Spanish capital until Dec. 7.
"So far it has been a fantastic experience. It will really help us to compete in the future," commented the player Wang Xinling.
"This is good for the development of women's football in China and it will help the game become more popular and for more girls to play," she added. Enditem