Football forces from Beijing and Hong Kong converged in small town Tonglu, Zhejiang province to participate in the 2014 CGFx (China Grassroots Football) event. After a week of coaching activities undermining questions of Who~ What~ When~ Where~ Why towards the non-profit volunteer activities of CGF evaporated into the standard result of football activity~the beautiful game prevailed.
2014 CGFx Summary In total 35 Coaches representing three Chinese provinces and ten different countries participated in the two-fold event. Firstly, morning activities involved a CFA coaching certification course (FYI, Yes, it is possible for foreign coaches to participate in CFA coach courses!) designed for the ‘School Football Project’ coaching initiative. Second, during afternoons the team of coaches was actively engaged in CGFx Outreach activities in Tonglu County. Over the course of the week CGFx Outreach engaged over a thousand local children in their first ever experiences with footballing activities while interacting with local & international coach mentors. The week of CGF activities culminated in an international friendly exchange tournament for youth from Tonglu & Hangzhou (including Hangzhou International School). Still, this all begs the question…how is such an event possible?
White Elephants in Zhejiang
Located on a yet-to-be-named road in Tonglu, Zhejiang is a remarkable feat recently achieved by the Hangzhou Football Association & Tonglu Sports Bureau. The newly established Hangzhou Football Center boasts five full outdoor pitches, two indoor 5-a-side pitches, and enough dormitories and classrooms to host 150 footballing pupils a year. The potential of the facility, as one of the most formidable football venues in the Yangtze River Delta, is undeniable. However, the public facility has yet to have an official opening or plan (despite the expected 2013 date of operation).Thus the 2014 CGFx event celebrates the football center’s groundbreaking event, and, in the process, pushes the envelop for future use of facility for international, national, and local football activities.
CGFx Impact: Localizing the Game
The 2014 CGFx event was designed primarily to promote the establishment and foundation of football, in wake of the new Hangzhou Football Center of Tonglu, specifically in Tonglu. The result? Four schools in Tonglu County are now committed to the CFA’s School Football project and over 15 local P.E. teachers from these schools now have national football coaching qualifications with hundreds of regular football activities due to follow suit. Furthermore, football equipment of goals and balls are to be donated to participating schools. This all parallel with the CGF organization’s initiatives to educate, inspire & equip localized Chinese Grassroots Football coaches and players. Long term aims of CGF remain becoming the first established Chinese football specific Non-profit NGO.
Reaching Towards a Chinese Football Future
A unique aspect of the 2014 CGFx event is the advent of a “Future Coaches” project with the partnership of Hong Kong based Chinese International School (CIS) Hangzhou Campus. 16 participants from CIS Hangzhou participated as coaches during the event. Their eclectic additions of international elements and a youthful bridge towards a brighter future in Chinese football. Where local P.E. teachers embraced existing educational practices in China, the junior coaches (ages 14-15) embraced an enthusiasm for the sport uncommon in China. Collectively, the result was an unforgettably positive exchange experience for local children & coaches and the international young adults. Thus the “Future Coaches Project” of CGF brings new ideas, hope, and possibilities for a future in Chinese football.
The Bottom Line ~ CGF Has and Needs help! Of course, none of this was possible without CGFx event sponsors Coca Cola, CGFx Venue support from Hangzhou FA and the Tonglu Sports Bureau, and the CGF equipment partners PUGG goals. Last and not least without the execution and organization of all operating partners by Hangzhou Sinobal Football Club none of this would be possible.
CGF~Next? The Futures of CGFx events and the CGF organization are not exclusive to Tonglu. Volunteerism in sport (and all general areas) has plenty of room for growth and development in China, especially Western China. 2014 had participating coaches from Anhui and Jiangxi, thus creating a potential CGF “Journey to the West.” Furthermore, the forward thinking and maturity of CIS faculty and student body remains an inspiration for all potential Chinese high school and university students to follow. Plus, internationals in and outside of China looking to volunteer at the local level in Chinese football have more opportunities to get involved. Growth at this rate leaves the development of Chinese football without the usual suspect excuses.
Those who are interested finding more information or participating in CGFx or CGF activities can contact Trevor Lamb rovertlamb@gmail or firstname.lastname@example.org, head of the International CGF organizing committee. Check out CGF Videos: 2014 CGF Video: Tonglu China (Youtube) & 2012 CGF Video: Tonglu Grassroots Football 2012 (Youku)
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