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Apprentices de le FC Metz, Au Revoir et Bonjour.

Posing before signing.

Yi Teng and Wang Chu, do they sound familiar? For those of you that don’t know who they are, they are apprentices plying their trades in France’s Ligue 2 club FC Metz.

You might wonder: why France? Many people have condemned the development of Chinese football, citing it as “disastrous, corrupted, and will obliterate youth’s potential for monetary gains”.  To solve this problem, Chinese Football Association and FC Metz have signed an agreement where China will send youngsters to France to benefit from the European youth football training.

Some of the earliest apprentices were Yi Teng and Wang Chu. The policy of Ligue 2 is to allow only two non-EU spots for each team to use. The pair worked hard to break into the first time and they faced formidable competition. To get more playing time, both players were relegated to FC Metz II, the reserve team of FC Metz that competes in the Championnat de France amateur (CFA), a fourth tier league.

During the 2010-2011 season, both Yi and Wang played extensively in the CFA league. Wang played 14 games and scored one goal, and Yi played 23 games with no goal. With a handful of games, when people believed Yi might have a chance to break into the first team, Yi decided not to extend his contract and went back to China to seek for more playing time. The possible reason for his departure is Yi is almost 22 year-old and he wanted more first time experience in a ‘professional league’. Another reason might be he saw Zhang Jiaqi, an apprentice in Le Mans, just got promoted to the first team and realized he must leave France for a league where competition isn’t so fierce.

Waiting for his debut with the first team, and it never came.

 

Now back in China, Yi Teng is linked to Shenzhen Ruby and Chengdu Blades, where both teams need a good defender to boost up their rankings.

So..let me ask you again, Yi Teng and Wang Chu, do they sound familiar?

Now cross out Yi Teng and add Zhang Qi and Huang Wei, the two new kids that were recently sent to FC Metz by the Chinese Football Association . Will Wang Chu and the new kids, Zhang Qi and Huang Wei, face similar destiny as Yi Teng? Will one of them eventually become the second Chinese, after Li Jinyu, to play football in France?

Only time will tell.

Ever since witnessing Yang Chen’s near goal opportunity in the game of China vs. Turkey in World Cup 2002 from his bed at 3am, Smari has developed an avid interest in following the Chinese national team. He had seen how the Chinese team was worshiped as gods during the World Cup 2002 and Asian Cup 2004, and how they are treated like shit since the failure to qualify for the World Cup 2006. Smari joined Wild East Football as a contributor because he realized there is a need for the world to know about Chinese football. There is an almost bare minimum amount of English language forums or websites that strictly talk about Chinese football, the Chinese Super League, the Chinese national team, etc. The world needs to know that Chinese football is not about Shaolin football, corruption, diving, and cheating; we are about playing with our heart to bring smiles to our already embarrassed fans. Smari hopes he would be able to witness the improvement of Chinese football and spend all his life savings to watch Guojiadui’s second World Cup appearance at whatever venue, even a warzone. Apart from writing/translating Chinese football news, Smari loves playing mahjang, imitating how Samri Nasri dribbles in the Emirates pitch, watching how Adam Johnson terrorizes his rivals, learning bar tending to make up his reason for consistent drunkenness, being artistically weird by shooting abstract photos, and defeating boringism in his mundane life. He also loves traveling, and he hopes to have his own apartment that is filled with national team jerseys from every country he visited. Smari often attributes his depression to the current dire state of Chinese football, let’s hope he won’t turn insane soon.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. CP

    04/07/2011 at 15:02

    I’m a little confused by this piece. For instance, Yi Teng decided to return to China because he was afraid of competition- “Another reason might be he saw Zhang Jiaqi, an apprentice in Le Mans, just got promoted to the first team and realized he must leave France for a league where competition isn’t so fierce.” I don’t understand he saw another Chinese player be promoted and he felt scared/ discouraged enough to return to China? Also, the Wikipedia entry for Yi says something different. This article from Sept 2010 says Yi was awarded a pro contract. So I guess Yi left after just one season as you mentioned.

    • smari

      05/07/2011 at 17:51

      ah CP thanks for bringing up the point, i always thought Yi Teng did not sign a pro-contract.

      in this case, i think my rationale about “Zhang Jiaqi signing a pro-contract before Yi Teng has discouraged Yi and make him return to China” is no longer valid.

      thanks for bringing this up, i will look carefully into my research next time, and i believe the main reasons Yi Teng left are because of his age and he wants professional football.

  2. CP

    07/07/2011 at 13:10

    Here’s the actual article- http://www.soccerway.com/news/2010/September/10/metz-hand-pro-contract-to-chinese-youngster/.
    Anyways, smari, this was a good post. It’s interesting to know that the Chinese federation has an agreement with European pro teams to train young players and we need to know more. If said Zhang Jiaqi does anything good, write about it.

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