“It provides the coaches with an excellent opportunity to gain more theory in the science of coaching. There are fantastic facilities here at the University and also at Stoke City Football Club.”
Dr Dean Burt, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science
Staffordshire University has teamed up with Stoke City Football club to train 60 Chinese soccer coaches this summer.
The University and the Premier League club was one of only three groups in the UK to successfully bid for funding from the British Council to accommodate and train the coaches on a 12 week study programme from July to September.
Dr Dean Burt, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, said: “It provides the coaches with an excellent opportunity to gain more theory in the science of coaching. There are fantastic facilities here at the University and also at Stoke City Football Club.”
The coaches, who have been hand-picked by the Chinese government and include several professional players, are being taught a range of subjects by the university's School of Psychology Sport and Exercise including psychology, physiology and nutrition.
Dean added: “The Chinese government are keen to invest in football and coming over here provides an opportunity to improve their professional coaching.”
“It just further emphasises how great the city is for sport and justifies the decision to make Stoke-on-Trent the European City of Sport 2016.”
Eddie Shen used to be a professional goalkeeper in the Chinese Super League and now teaches football coaching as a university lecturer.
“We're enjoying it here very much. The courses cover the whole field of football from psychology to physiology and we are gaining a lot from here.” he commented.
“Stoke city has a lot in common with China with its potteries, ceramics and tea culture. It's lovely here and most importantly the people here are very warm and friendly.”
Liu Yu, another of the coaches, added: “Thanks to the skills and knowledge I've gained from Staffordshire University and Stoke City Football Club I feel inspired to do my best to organise good football training in my university, my professional football club and in young football schools in the future.”
The theory based learning is paired with practical football training from professional coaches at Stoke City FC and the coaches’ time is split between the University and the club's specialist training facilities.
Angela Smith, who works in International Development at Stoke City FC, is leading the project.
“I think it's inevitable that a Chinese player will play in the Premier league. There have been Chinese players who have been in the Premier League for just a couple of seasons but I think that will change dramatically in the future.”
She added: “It's worked perfectly. We've worked with the University before, we work well together and it's great for the city.”
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