Chilean Alex sets up amateur football team in Kunming
In Kunming, there is an amateur football team made up by people mainly from South American countries, and it is simply named the Latino FC.
Alex - the man who created this team in the first place - comes from Chile. Alex and his friends gather twice a week at the Haigeng Sports Center near the Dianchi Lake in Kunming to play football. In just less than one year, they have already built up a squad with 30 to 40 people in all. Their goal is not merely to have fun themselves, but let more people, especially local children and teenagers fall in love with this sport.
A tennis coach who also loves football
We came to know Alex for the first time at an Italian restaurant in downtown Kunming when he was having dinner with a number of friends. He quickly invited us to sit down and began to introduce his friends to us: “he comes from Britain, and the one next to him is from France. Both of them are football coaches.”
Alex comes from Chile, and he was born in Santiago, the capital, in 1990. “I think my family is something that can be called a sports family. All my six uncles love playing football, and my father even dreamed to become a professional player,” he said.
Like many young persons in South America, Alex began practicing football as early as 3 or 4 years old, and soon felt that he was in love with this exciting sport. Alex has long been an active fan of Colo Colo, a local club in Chile, and he is familiar with almost every Chilean footballer playing around the world: Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Claudio Bravo, and so forth.
It’s worth mentioning that Alex chose to study sports engineering at university, which is also linked to football - his hobby. During 5 years of study, he involved himself in organizing various sports events; knowledge and understanding of the entire sports industry were also accumulated.
In addition to football, Alex is also skilled in playing tennis. “I began learning to play tennis when I was 14 years old. Since then, I feel that it has just become an inseparable part of my life,” said Alex. Later, as an internationally certified coach, Alex has been coaching tennis in several countries; he even won a local tennis tournament in Kunming. Furthermore, Alex enjoys play badminton and volleyball as well. It seems that there is no sport that he would not like to give it a try.
However, football is undoubtedly his favorite. “As a person coming from South America, football has always been in my heart and blood. ”
He sets up a latin football team in Kunming
In an evening of mid-January, Alex and his friends gathered at the Kunming Haigeng Sports center. They prepared to have 8x8 football matches with local Chinese teams.
“I had much imagination about China when I was a kid. However, because of the distance, very few people from South America really got chance to visit China,” he said. “I came to China for the first time about 5 years ago to participate in a tennis competition. Soon I decided to settle down and teach tennis in Dongguan, Guangdong province.”
“I lived one year and a half in Dongguan. And I have been traveling around in China, but Kunming is the city that I really cannot forget about. So I immediately decided to move here and carry on my sports dream in this Spring City.”
“Our football team was founded in May 2019. Right now, we have had over 30 players playing together on a regular basis, and most of them come from Latin countries, including Spain, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil and so forth,” he said.
In terms of his initial thought, Alex explained: “Before coming to Kunming, I had never imagined that I could find that many people who speak the same language - which is Spanish - as I do. This really amazed me! And you know, playing football is the best thing we can ever do when South American people get together!”
Alex plays as a center back on the pitch. By devoting all his attention and energy to the game, he sometimes looks more like a coach than a player.
His team members ran, jumped and shouted out loud in the game, trying to play football in a “Tiki Taka” way, just like Barcelona.
Alex has also been touched by the passion of young people in China for football. “I have come to know many teenagers in Kunming. They all show great interest in football, just like any young man I see in South America. So I believe that if you give them more encouragement, they will really fall in love with this sport, and the so called ‘culture of football’ will start to spread in Kunming,” he concluded.
By Wang Jingzhong and Li Wenjun