At Zhangpan Primary School in the mountainous areas in Mengjin County, Luoyang City, Central China's Henan Province, there is a football team. The football has enriched the pupils' school lives and might help realize their dreams.
"I don't believe that rural children can't play football well!" said Song Haibo, principal of the primary school. In 2016, Song decided to develop a campus football culture. He turned to his physical education teacher Liang Yaowu for help, and began to teach students and hold training sessions on a concrete floor.
In 2018, the county's education and sports authorities and the town's government raised 400,000 yuan (US $60,499) to build a new standard football field, 2,400 square meters in size, at the school.
The school invited a local football club to offer professional training. Football has since become an indispensable part of the children's lives.
At present, each of all the 245 students has his or her own football. Classes in the third to sixth grades have class teams respectively.
Football training has been integrated into the students' curriculum and breaks. At every after-school session, the children will undergo more than two hours of training.
Speaking of changes that the ball game has brought to the pupils, Song said: "The children now love and enjoy the sport very much. As well as keeping fit, football has cultivated their sense of competition and teamwork, and also enhanced their sense of responsibility and collective honor."
The schoolgirls' football team has also grown into a strong one among local campuses over the past four years, and these rural girls' football dream has been sparked.
"When I run on the field, I feel indescribable happiness. I enjoy playing football," said Liang Mengyan with a smile, adding that she will work harder in study and training so as to be admitted to a top university.
In the past few years, the school's football team has won many championships, including the U12 Girls' Competition of the Belt and Road International Youth Tournament. Five players of the team joined the National Campus Football Summer Camp, and one of them was selected for the first squad.
Liang, head coach of the football team, is full of hope for the future. In his view, this sport is an important medium for these rural schoolgirls to move towards a wonderful outside world. He expects that more attention and care will be paid and given to schoolgirls' football team, facilitating them realize their dreams.
(Source: CNSPHOTO/Translated and edited by Women of China)November 15, 2020