Southampton Football Club was proud to host a visit from the Chinese Football Association (CFA), who were eager to learn more about how Saints coach their Academy players.
As part of an agreement between the Premier League and Chinese Super League (CSL), Saints were selected to share knowledge on coaching techniques and nurturing the best young talent.
A group of Under-19 coaches from the CSL spent six days at Staplewood to observe how Saints prepare for an Under-18 fixture.
The visit underlines the successful work being done by the club and the positive reputation the Academy has built over the years.
Cheng Xu, the CFA’s Chinese Super League officer, also attended the Tottenham Hotspur Academy as part of the programme, and hopes the trip will inspire the next generation of Chinese coaches.
“I can see the football culture is quite different here in England,” he said.
“Spurs and Southampton have a different style on the pitch, but both clubs value their Academies very much and are willing to make an effort to get the best out of them.
“The coaches and players focus on football and always put a lot of energy into their jobs.
“There are quite a few aspects that we can learn from both clubs in terms of the building of the Academy system, such as the investment and use of scientific research, and the philosophy on the selection of young talent.”
The trip was organised by IMG China and Saints’ coach development manager Iain Brunnschweiler, who introduced the visitors to innovative techniques in coaching, analysis and psychology.
IMG China’s Richard Money was full of praise for the team at Staplewood.
“The visit was extremely well-coordinated and put together,” he added.
“The education the coaches delivered was exactly what we needed and certainly complemented and dovetailed perfectly with the visit to Spurs the previous week. “The feedback from this group of CSL coaches has been extremely positive.”