• Premier League club involved in groundbreaking player development initiative backed by the Youth Sports Development Bureau within the General Administration of Sport of China
• 24 budding footballers from mainland China and Hong Kong set to win the chance to train at Tottenham Hotspur following a nationwide coaching programme
• Club’s principal partner AIA sponsoring the initiative as part of its own investment into grassroots football
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club has today announced its involvement in the second season of Football Dream, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at developing China’s future footballing talent.
Backed by the Youth Sports Development Bureau within the General Administration of Sport of China and involving a partnership between the Youth Sports Development Bureau, China Extreme Sports Culture Company and Global Media, Football Dream sees budding footballers aged between 14 and 16 from four provinces in mainland China, and Hong Kong, battling it out for the chance of a lifetime.
Following a nationwide coaching programme, twenty-four winners will be invited to train at the world-class European facilities on offer at both Tottenham Hotspur and Italian Serie A giants Internazionale Milano later this year.
Teams of legendary players from both clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur legends Ledley King and Edgar Davids, will be involved in a series of ‘Mega Selections’ held in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, at which the best young players will be developed and selected for coaching experiences in Europe.
Their journeys to Europe will form the basis of a popular television programme and multi-platform digital offering, aired by a number of leading television and online broadcasters in mainland China and Hong Kong.
Speaking at the launch of 2014 Football Dream in Beijing, King, a current Tottenham Hotspur Ambassador and former Club captain, said:
“It is an honour to be involved in 2014 Football Dream and I am excited to see the up-and-coming talent that China and Hong Kong has to offer.
“Tottenham Hotspur’s involvement goes to show the investment the Club is making in football at grassroots level in this part of the world, and developing young talent is a true passion of mine.
“I was lucky enough to come through the Tottenham Hotspur Academy to break into the first team in 1999, go on to make more than 300 appearances for the Club, many as captain, and represent my country at the highest level.
“And, having worked in the world class training facilities we have at Spurs, it is a great chance for the young players involved in Football Dream to follow in my footsteps.”
Tottenham Hotspur’s involvement in 2014 Football Dream forms part of the Club’s wider aims to help develop the game at grassroots level across Asia.
The Club’s Global Coaching team has a strong presence in the Far East, working closely with the Hong Kong FA, South China FC, and Tottenham Hotspur’s principal partner AIA.
One of the world’s leading providers of insurance services, AIA is a title sponsor of 2014 Football Dream as part of its own efforts to promote healthy living and vitality within its markets.
John Cai, AIA Group’s Chief Executive Officer for China, said :
“AIA China is very proud to be the title sponsor of Football Dream, a programme which does a tremendous job of not only promoting football but also of inspiring young people to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.
“In addition to supporting Football Dream, we believe that football has the power to teach young people not only the value of healthy living, but the value of teamwork and perseverance-and that this in turn will help them not only on the sporting field but also in their real lives outside of football.”
The 24 selected players will take part in a final competition at the end of the summer in Beijing, and will receive the prize of experiencing one-month of professional training at Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan, including having the chance to watch Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane with their parents.
Football Dream was first launched last year, with Series 1 involving AFC Ajax and Everton Football Club.