Oct 18, 2017
It’s obviously not possible to mention every sports club for children that operates in Suzhou, and as some have been covered previously I’ll focus instead on a few that have not. The first is the rugby academy which operates out of SSIS (Suzhou Singapore International School). It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was aware that rugby was even played in the city, so to learn that not only is there a club for adult players but also a training academy for children has been a notable positive. This is because besides hoping to play for a few more years myself, I would also like my son to have the opportunity to learn a game that I enjoyed playing when growing up. The children’s academy also appears to be very well managed and staffed, and the training facilities are excellent as one would expect.
Another club that has been established recently has been the Dulwich College Earthquakes Football Club. For the past couple of years the school has run short football training courses and these have been successful affairs. This year it also began to offer longer programmes in the sport, running over an academic year and providing fixtures for the players and teams of differing age groups. In many respects the Dulwich College Earthquakes FC is providing an international school educational sporting experience to all interested and, of course, enrolled children from across the city which is something I’m not sure any other sporting clubs are currently able to do, with the possible exception of the rugby academy. They also are doing so, again as with the rugby, in an environment which boasts fantastic facilities, and highly professional and experienced coaches who not only know the game, but are also very well qualified educators.
The final sport I plan to focus on in any detail is baseball. This is another sport I would not have envisaged gaining a natural foothold in the city until recently when someone explained the potential appeal to me. Run by Amigo, a sports club operating out of SIP, the club has invested in good training facilities and looked to recruit international caliber coaches to work alongside their domestic ones. It is also a friendly and welcoming club, with supportive administrative staff. Having seen the growth of this company over the past couple of years, its vision for growing the sport is impressive, and its attempts to grow its own brand equally so.
Of course there are many other sports that are deserving of mention, and clubs too. One additional example would be golf. Two notable providers of children’s training are Jin Xiong and Drive. Both have recruited former players who appear highly knowledgeable about both the game and educational principles, and both seem to offer high quality training opportunities. As with most clubs, choosing between providers, or even sports, is often determined by a number of considerations, including the number of providers available and finding a good fit between the providers’ training ethos and one’s own aspirations of what it should entail. Features such as pricing, location, service offering variations (including timings) and promotion will also influence choices. Thankfully, the range and variety of options in Suzhou are constantly evolving and increasing, which is great from a parent’s perspective.
About the Column
Gareth Morris is a university language teacher. He is also a part-time doctoral student. Gareth first moved to China in 2005 and, after spending a couple of years back in the UK studying for his PGCE and Masters, has now returned to the city he calls home. During his time in China Gareth has travelled extensively. His travels have taken him from Beijing and Xian to Kunming and Haikou. He has also spent time in Hong Kong and Macao. In addition to this, Gareth has lived in a number of countries across Europe, North and Central America and Asia. Closer to home, Gareth has enjoyed visiting numerous localities within Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. His Livingsu column will explore local places of interest found within walking distance of Metro line 1.