It’s no secret that China’s grassroots coaching system is badly under-developed and lacking interested participants. But is delighted to report there are a growing number of individuals dedicated to changing this. Ebbe Sand Soccer Academy – CETA Soccer was launched over three months ago and is based at the Shanghai Rugby Club’s premises in northern Pudong district. Their operations are still expanding and they carry out after school and weekend training sessions for players of ages 5-18.
The school has been established with some very serious credentials – Ebbe Sands was capped 66 times for the Danish national team and played 281 matches for Bundesliga side Schalke 04, where he was top scorer in 2001. He was Bundesliga “Player of the year” in 2001, and in 2008 named the greatest player to have ever played in the Danish Premier Division by the Danish paper Ekstra Bladet.
Working with Ebbe is 29-year-old Mads Davidsen who and has coached professionally for several years in his native Denmark. He’s been responsible for training B.93 Copenhagen’s youth teams and most recently was coaching the Brondby’s U19 team. The UEFA A coaching license-holder also gained a Masters in Communication from Roskilde University.
spoke to Mads about their plans for the academy and positive change they wish to bring.
Mads Davidsen: Our Academy is partnered with the China Elite Training Academy which is Shanghai’s and China’s best Tennis Academy. They have full-time employees and work together with the Chinese national team, so we have a real high performance team and an elite culture here.
My way of coaching can be described as a modern leadership style with focus on developing technically and mentally strong players who are able to think and act under pressure. To me, the development of the mental strength of the players is especially important, and in my eyes the mental aspect is a much underrated element of the football world today. Football is played with your feet but won with the inside of your head. If you acknowledge the importance and the effect of being mentally strong, one can move football players significantly further.
: Do you have any plans to expand outside of Shanghai?
ED: Right now, Shanghai is big enough for us, its like a big country in Europe, so our focus is here right now.
wishes Ebbe and Mads the very best of luck in their endeavour and hopes to publish more stories on their successes in the future.
- Supporting the worst team in the league? An account of how it happened… on
- CSL travelogue: Take a look at Guiyang before they’re gone on
- Coleman to Hebei and How China Gets into the World Cup Swing: The Chinese Football Podcast on
- Kitchee Defeat Tai Po Again to Win FA Cup and Clinch Domestic Treble on
- The Greatest Foreign Players in CSL History (But Not Iniesta): The Chinese Football Podcast on