BERLIN (Rahnuma) : Developing talented youngsters and training youth coaches has become as vital in modern football as the tapping of emerging markets like China. Many of the world’s leading clubs have started partnerships with the country’s clubs.
Now 2007 German Champion VfB Stuttgart is set to join the growing number this Wednesday by signing a five-year contract with the Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F. Jochen Roettgermann, CMO of VfB Stuttgart, told Xinhua: “our collaboration concentrates on the development of young talents, youth coaches and advanced training of coaches.”
In contrast to other clubs, Stuttgart will start the partnership with Guangzhou R&F by introducing an academy concept. A tour by the club’s first team is not a major priority, emphasized Roettgermann.
“Of course, we’re looking forward to visiting China with our Bundesliga squad, but it’s not our main concern. We’re convinced our new partner, and Chinese football in general, will benefit far more from an intense exchange of expertise in youth football,” the 51-year-old commented.
Located in south Germany in one of the world’s most prosperous economic regions where global players like Mercedes, Bosch and Porsche are headquartered, the club is renowned for its activities to produce top young players. Ten U-19 German Championships and five for the U-17s makes Stuttgart one of the most successful outfits in domestic football.
Well-known players like Sami Khedira (Juventus Turin), Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea), Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry (both Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Arsenal), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Sebastian Rudy (FC Schalke 04) and German U- 21 international Timo Baumgartl (Stuttgart) made their first steps in youth football in the city as several former world stars like Juergen Klinsmann, Guido Buchwald and Philipp Lahm.
2018 World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard joined Stuttgart coming from the French club OSC Lille in 2016. His performances in the Bundesliga caught the eye of the French national coach Didier Deschamps who duly picked him for the national team.
Roettgermann said he was impressed by the efforts being made in China to develop football. The big interest in developing all aspects of the game shows just how serious the country is to improve its football, said the VfB official. China’s youngsters will benefit from the values and skills that football teaches, stressed Roettgermann.
“We experienced a strong commitment and openness to tap our experience in youth football, its development, our structures and organization,” Roettgermann said.
A main aspect of the collaboration will be to successfully manage a “dual system” combining football and school education. “We found out that Chinese parents have expectations similar to those of German parents. Both are concerned about their kids’ progress in school and later when training for a job.”
Roettgermann continued by saying that both Stuttgart and Guangzhou R&F were equal partners. The club is happy to bring together German and Chinese companies in both regions, which are both dominated by the automotive industry. Mercedes for instance owns 11.75 percent of VfB Stuttgart’s shares.
It has also been announced that Heiko Stroh, VfB director of Internationalization, and former German international Thomas Hitzlsperger will be part of the delegation visiting Guangzhou for the official ceremony this Tuesday. The former Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton professional and 2007 German Champion is head of the VfB Youth Academy and also member of the clubs board.