When you think of China you are not always thinking of football. Sport maybe, as the Chinese particularly excel in the Olympics in sports such as table tennis, gymnastics and badminton. Even tennis and weight lifting are hugely important sports in the country. But having qualified for the FIFA World Cup back in 2002, there are some really cool football experiences in China, so here is an overview of my top 5.
1. Watching the Chinese National Team
China’s national team play most of their home matches in the city of Beijing, the capital. You can buy tickets in advance or on the gate. China were in the 2002 World Cup and they also play in the Asian Cup.
2. Playing football in the mountains
In local regions of the mountainous parts of China, a cool experience is to play football with the locals. I always enjoy a kick about with them.
3. Hong Kong Soccer Sevens
The HKFC International Soccer Sevens is an annual invitational seven-a-side football tournament which is organised and hosted by Hong Kong Football Club. English Premier League players Gabriel Agbonlahor, Glen Johnson, Anton Ferdinand, David Bentley and Marc Albrighton, plus Scotland internationals Shaun Maloney, Craig Beattie and Chris Burke, are some of the young players who have made a name for themselves in the tournament.
4. Chinese New Year Trophy
The awesome four team tournament called the Chinese New Year trophy is also staged in Hong Kong and it runs during Chinese New Year. It attracts teams from all over the world such as Arsenal FC (England), Atletico Madrid (Spain) and Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine). You can get tickets for Arsenal matches as well as a block booking which covers all the games.
5. Hong Kong National Team
Within the Chinese Empire there are a few different national teams. Taiwan have a team called Chinese Taipei. Hong Kong have a team and so do Macau. Invite your mates and head to Hong Kong to watch the national team. We recently went with a few lads to Mong Kok stadium where we watched Hong Kong thrash Taiwan 5-1.
I hope those cool experiences help you keep up with football while backpacking in China!