Football Lights up Girls' Lives in Mountainous Areas

January 7, 2020
Editor: Wang Liyan
Football Lights up Girls' Lives in Mountainous Areas
The women's football team of Tancheng No.1 High School competes in a match. [Xinhua]


"Thanks to the women's football team of Tancheng No.1 High School, I got the chance to change my life," said Yang Chuanli, a freshman of Shanghai University who comes from the Yimeng mountainous area in Tancheng County, Linyi City, East China's Shandong Province. "It was playing football that made it all happen."

In 2019, 13 female players of the high school took the college entrance examination and 11 of them were enrolled by universities. Yang and two other team members were admitted to Shanghai University.

The women's football team of the high school was established in 2009. The team recruited middle school students for the first time in 2013. Yang, then student at the Yucai Middle School in Tancheng County, was admitted as one of the first middle school players of the team.  

Three years later, Yang entered the Tancheng No.1 High School, and she continued playing football in the team. She acted as the caption of the team, helping the coach manage the team members and deal with the team's affairs.

"Playing football allowed me to have more experience, broadened my horizons, and made me stronger and more mature in the face of difficulties, which will be very helpful for me in the future," Yang said.

"It's no exaggeration to say that football lights up their dreams. Some girls chose to play football. They know that they should not only play football well but also study well if they want to go to the university and see the outside world," said Fang Liang, deputy director of the teaching department of the school.

With a good reputation, the school has attracted many students who are passionate about playing football. At present, the women's football team of the school has 67 high school players and more than 60 middle school players, among whom 90 percent are from rural areas.

Since 2011, the year when the first primary and middle school students' sports league was held in Shandong Province, the school's women's football team has won the provincial championship seven times and the national championship six times.

In addition, more than 80 women football players of the school have been enrolled by universities since 2012.

Playing football can change the fate, which is the consensus of the women's football team players in the school.

Xu Na, one of the first group of football players of the school, became a football coach at the Experimental No. 2 Primary School in the county, after she graduated from Henan University, in Central China's Henan Province, in 2016.

"Playing football gives girls more choices. Most girls in the rural areas didn't know what would happen when they began to play football. But when they see the team players be admitted to college, they see hope," Xu said.

So far, more than a dozen of former players of the team have worked as teachers in primary and middle schools after they graduated from the university.  

Inspired by the women's football team of the No.1 High School, Tancheng now has 70 football teams of the schools and the football courses have been offered in all the schools in the county. The football lesson is given to primary and middle school students once a week, and the football optional course is given to high school students once two weeks.

Football Lights up Girls' Lives in Mountainous Areas
Women players of a school's football team in Tancheng County, Linyi City, East China's Shandong Province, have a football class. [Xinhua]


(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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