Downtown Nanchang, the

capital of the eastern Jiangxi province, has a soccer field where you would least expect it — on the top floor of a five-story primary school building.

The Dieshanlu campus of the Primary School Affiliated to Nanchang Normal University is tucked away in a residential community building. In 2015, the school converted the terrace of the teaching building into a 20-meter-long, 10-meter-wide outdoor soccer field, enclosed with nets and iron bars.

Every class in the school has since set up a five-member team, and more than 200 students get to take part in soccer training on a regular basis. This year, for the first time, the school participated in the city’s soccer tournament for primary and middle schools.

“My dad and I are both soccer fans,” said grade-five pupil Fan Xiaorui. “Before, there was no soccer field at the school and I had to go with my dad to the neighboring university. Now I can play with my classmates in the school.”

Zhang Taichi, the school’s soccer coach, said the field has also encouraged students to study harder. “Sometimes, I tell them that if they fail tests, they will not be able to play,” Zhang said. “They cherish the playing time here.”

“They also take good care of the soccer field, volunteering to keep it clean and clear,” Zhang added.

Wang Hui, the school’s principal, said that instead of building full-size soccer fields or basketball courts, more accessible courts are needed and will help children to develop in an all-around way.

Since 2015, schools in China have been encouraged to develop physical education. Schools in densely populated cities have made adjustments to build fields.

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