Shanghai soccer club visits Brazil

Updated: 2014-06-30 06:09

By ZHANG FAN in Sao Paulo (China Daily Latin America)

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Shanghai soccer club visits Brazil

A team of Chinese soccer players from the Happy Stars Club in Shanghai has a match with local football team Molecadas on Sunday in Sao Paulo. See story on page 3. [PHOTO BY Zhang Fan / CHINA DAILY]

"Though the Chinese national soccer team did not make it in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, our Chinese players are still in Brazil to play our own matches," said Hu Qingwei, general manager of the Happy Stars Football Club in Shanghai, on Sunday in Sao Paulo.

Hu led a group of seven club members to Brazil to have three matches with local soccer teams in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with the first one held on Sunday in Sao Paulo with a team called Molecadas.

The Happy Stars Football Club, established earlier this year, mainly focuses on the soccer training of China's younger generation aged three to 12 years old. "Children are the hope of Chinese soccer," said Hu. "We want to provide the best soccer training to these children and hope a Chinese soccer team will enter the World Cup when they grow up."

"We want to first foster their love for soccer and will provide professional training for children older than 12," said Hu. "We also want to send talented soccer players to the best international clubs in the future."

About 100 children have entered the club for soccer training with Zhou Hongyu, 3, one of the youngest. "My favorite soccer star is Neymar!" said Zhou, who also traveled with the team to Brazil along with his parents.

"We are both soccer fans," said Zhou's mother Lilly. "I believe my boy can benefit greatly from this sport. It is also important to learn how to play on a team."