Chinese guests experience the royal blue youth department up close

For almost three weeks, two Chinese football teams stayed in Schalke and took a look behind the scenes of the royal blue youth department as part of a long-term cooperation.

The Knappenschmiede already set a first milestone on Chinese soil in 2015, opening new doors in China. In Kunshan, not far from the metropolis of Shanghai, a first camp of the FC Schalke 04 football school marked the beginning of a long-term cooperation and a further step in the progressive internationalization of the Royal Blues. Since then, Schalke have been involved in on-site school projects and are continuously working on a basic talent development program. Regular training sessions by S04 coaches for the so-called elite teams and trainings for the coaches in China ensure a footballing education with the Schalke seal of quality.

This cooperation not only includes visits by the S04 to China, but Chinese partners also occasionally breathe royal blue air to foster a close exchange: In August, two Chinese teams with a total of 30 players from the years 2007 to 2010 were visiting Schalke for almost three weeks. Five Chinese as well as three German coaches, a delegation leader and two translators accompanied the young footballers during this time.

“When we are in China, it is relatively difficult for the Chinese people to understand what we want to convey, because at first we can only provide explanations,” explains Marco Fladrich, Head of Knappenschmiede International. “Here at Schalke you have the chance to see with our own eyes how we really train. They are right next to the Knappenschmiede and can watch training sessions and games. Some of the Chinese players can even practice in the individual teams themselves.”

But not only training sessions and matches were waiting for the guests from China: For three days, the young players also visited a camp at SSV Buer. “It was very interesting to see how all children tried to communicate with each other. They had a lot of fun, laughed a lot and messed around,” says Fladrich. Among the highlights, however, were certainly the visit to the Schalke Day and the Bundesliga match of the pros against FC Bayern, which the guests were able to experience live in the stadium.

“What we told the coaches over the past three years, they could now finally see here in the Knappenschmiede live on the pitch” says Fladrich. “Our further cooperation naturally supports this immensely – even when we are back in China.” The cooperation partners were also able to feel the close connection between the Knappenschmiede International, the football school and the youth development center. “Here they saw that we have coaches who work both in the football school and in the youth development center, where they train a team, for example. We are in the middle of it. That’s what makes it authentic and believable.”

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