SOCCER is Hassan Bo’s life.
The 40-year-old Egyptian, known as Bobo to his friends, played soccer professionally for almost 20 years before moving to Shenzhen six years ago.
His goal is to field a professional soccer team made of Chinese and foreign teenage talent in Shenzhen.
Bo knows what it feels like to be a professional soccer player.
“The feeling of being exposed to spotlights with all the fans crying out my name was incredibly amazing,” Bo said about his early career on the Egyptian national team.
“My goal is to have my own team and take them to participate in the national soccer league in China,” said Bo.
The time is right for soccer in Shenzhen, according to Bo, who pointed out that President Xi Jinping urged the nation to improve football education at school.
Bo was born to an American mother and Egyptian father in the United States but was raised in Germany where soccer is popular. At age 14, Bobo was on the Egyptian national soccer team, a four-year experience that brought him honor, fame and success.
But Bo also has American citizenship. This was a problem for the Egyptian soccer team, which does not allow dual-passport holders to be members. Bo chose to quit the Egyptian team and maintain his American citizenship.
After that, Bo played in several other soccer clubs in Egypt, Turkey and Germany. Bo retired after an injury to his left kneecap.
“I then began to assist coaching and coach in some soccer clubs around the world,” said Bo. “[Soccer] means everything to me and I could not imagine living without it.”
At 34, Bo came to Shenzhen where he continued to train teams. He worked with the Chelsea Football Club in Hong Kong and the Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club.
“For the previous years, I’ve tried to build up connections here in Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and other cities,” said Bo. He started two soccer training clubs last year. One is called Wolves FC, a club for teenagers, and the other is the D-Frau Women’s Football Club.
Bobo said his training follows a German system, well known for focusing on teamwork.
“Every team in each country plays differently. The Germans play with exceptional team spirit while the Latin American teams tend to have several super stars score goals,” said Bo.
Bo thinks that some Chinese children are talented, but they lack professional training.
“I know that China is now working hard to cultivate strong [soccer] teams in the future and I believe that many kids possess the potential to achieve that goal,” said Bo.
To be a good soccer player, Bo thinks passion for soccer is the key. “Skill is the next important thing, so the training must be professional and profound,” said Bo, who also thinks an ability to follow instructions is important.
Bo now coaches around 47 kids, both boys and girls, as well as a women’s team every week in Futian District.