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Student hopes to train future athletes
From:ChinaDaily  |  2022-01-10 09:40

No chance to go pro, Ai Kanxiang sets sights on coaching

Ai Kanxiang is about to finish his first semester at college, where he is working hard to make his dream come true.

A physical education major, he hopes to become a PE teacher and train China's future soccer players. Two years ago, though, his dream was even bolder. Ai hoped to join the men's national soccer team, but the 20-year-old has experienced humbling twists and turns on the soccer pitch.

Born and raised in a small village in the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan province, Ai garnered public attention last year after videos of him playing soccer in a river went viral.

Demonstrating creativity, such as the way to do a precise bicycle kick in the water, he became an online celebrity, with some fans even saying that he was "better than professional players".

Some of those professional players, like Liu Yang and Wei Shihao, recorded videos to encourage Ai, and he later received an offer to train with a professional team in the provincial capital, Kunming, further boosting his confidence. He then made up his mind to develop his skills, setting the goal of joining the national team someday.