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Tottenham Hotspur helps to make Football Dreams a reality

Posted on 29 July 2014  - 14:48

Club legend Ossie Ardiles has joined Tottenham Hotspur coaches in Guangzhou, China, where filming has commenced for the second season of China’s nationwide grassroots programme, Football Dream, backed by the Youth Sports Development Bureau within the General Administration of Sport of China.

The Club, along with its principal partner AIA, is sponsoring the ground-breaking initiative aimed at developing China’s future footballing talent. The nationwide programme will see 24 winners invited to train at world-class facilities at Tottenham Hotspur and Internazionale Milano.

In the first round of eliminations, Ossie and coaches Bradley Allen and John Hyatt used the Club’s coaching excellence, alongside Inter‘s Massimo Paganin and coach Valerio Candido, to select 100 players from more than 1,000 participants at the Guangzhou Mega Selection.

This 100 was later whittled down to 12 players aged 14 – 16 who will go head-to-head for their place in the Mega Selection final in Beijing later this summer. Sharing words of advice and demonstrating key skills and footballing techniques, Ossie, Massimo and the coaches observed the Chinese hopefuls as they took their first steps competing in this exciting initiative. 

Whilst staying in Guangzhou, Ossie and the coaches were treated to a private tour of the city’s top tourist attractions, led by some of the Guangzhou finalists. The trip included a visit to a local restaurant to sample the cuisine and learn how to make dim sum.

Speaking about his time in Guangzhou and the Football Dream programme, Ossie said: “It’s encouraging to see so many of China’s young teenagers showing such a keen interest in football. So far all of Guangzhou’s contestants have been a pleasure to meet and coach – they have worked very hard to get to this stage. Sport is extremely important and for a lot of these participants football is their life.

“We as a Club are investing in helping China develop its footballing talent at a grassroots level and look forward to welcoming the finalists to England where they will work with Tottenham Hotspur coaches to increase their technique on the field. For some, this could lead to a budding career within the industry which I can see would be a dream come true for many.” 

Tottenham Hotspur’s involvement in 2014 Football Dream forms part of the Club’s wider aims to help develop the game at grassroots level in Asia, in partnership with AIA.

John Cai, Chief Executive Officer of AIA China, said: “AIA China is proud to be a main sponsor of Football Dream. We believe this program reinforces our brand position as The Real Life Company, which encapsulates AIA’s longstanding commitment to be deeply engaged in people’s lives. We look forward to supporting the success of Football Dream, which will continue to inspire young people in China, teaching them the value of sport, teamwork and promoting the importance of healthy living.”

In addition to Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan, contestants will work with Chinese national players and the ‘Dream Team’, mentoring young people on fitness, nutrition, psychology and finance, to assess their ability to work within teams and under pressure.

The next Mega Selection will take place in Suzhou, where Ossie and the team will use their expertise and world-class knowledge of the industry to select a further 12 participants to compete in the final in Beijing.