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How a Chinese school won a dream UK trip

20 Jul 2019

Mixed Under-12s team from Jiangsu Subei win Premier Skills Cup in front of their PL heroes and will now train with Academies in England

Boys and girls from a school in China got to meet their Premier League heroes and won a trip to visit their clubs in the United Kingdom as they lifted the Mixed Under-12s' Premier Skills Cup.

The team from Jiangsu Subei won the tournament in Nanjing on Tuesday, in which they and three other schools from Nanjing and Shanghai provinces, got to see the Premier League Trophy, meet PL players and be mentored by Academy coaches.

Jiangsu Subei's victory at Nanjing University of Astronautics and Aeronautics means they will see the Premier League clubs first-hand with a unique trip to train and play with them in the UK.

The tournament mirrored the format of the Premier League Asia Trophy, which is being held in China this week and features Manchester CityNewcastle UnitedWest Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers .

"When we arrived, the game was starting and we could hear the Premier League anthem," said West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, after watching the Premier Skills Cup match with team-mates Winston Reid and Robert Snodgrass.

"The Premier League tries to make it very special for them, to have a bit of that experience that we have when we play our league games. It's really cool what the Premier League is doing."

All four clubs were in attendance at the competition made possible by Premier Skills, the League's jointly-run programme with the British Council that has engaged more than 1.3million young people across China since 2009, by developing coaches, referees and coach educators.

South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, who joined Newcastle team-mates Jonjo Shelvey and Freddie Woodman at the tournament, said: "Because I'm from Korea, we're all Asian and I'm very excited to see the kids from Asia.

"This is a great programme and it's a very good experience for all the kids that play and have a programme together with the Premier League players.”

Each of the four schools represented one of the Premier League clubs at the Asia Trophy, and each team's Physical Education teachers and players were mentored by club Academy coaches, who gave guidance, team talks and ran warm-up sessions in a friendly and competitive environment.

Played in great spirit

"To be here is a great privilege," said Gareth Hughes, Man City's International Projects Coordinator.

"The kids have been very passionate. They've wanted to win but also played with a fair-play mentality.

"For us as coaches it's about how they play the game, and they've played it in a great spirit."

The tournament was refereed by Premier Skills-trained match officials, who received a special visit from Premier League and Asia Trophy referees Craig Pawson and Martin Atkinson, and their assistants Ian Hussin and Harry Lennard.

"We are here doing training with the young referees, doing some drills, having a Q&A and talking to them about our experiences," Pawson said.

"They were very keen, incredibly fit and very young. It's important they enjoy the game, first and foremost, and they try to develop the players as well."

Jiangsu Subei were the second team from Nanjing to win a trip to Premier League clubs in the UK in as many days, after the Under-15 team from the Academy of Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning won the CSL Cup.

See: How Premier Skills gives kids a brighter future

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