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Young China Series: Shanghai's African-Chinese footballer

10-03-2012 20:57 BJT Special Report:Young China |

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Today we continue our National Day Special Young China. There’s a football player in Shanghai who’s redefining what it means to be a Chinese.

Eddy Francis, Football player said, "My name is Eddy. I am Shanghainese. I play for Shanghai East Asia FC. I am a winger."

22-year-old Eddy may look like a foreigner but don’t be fooled. He considers himself 100% Chinese. Eddy’s father is Tanzanian and his mother is Chinese. He was brought up by his mother.

Eddy Francis said, "I grew up in Shanghai. At first, other kids were curious about me. They asked me where I was from and why I would come here and other questions. But after they played with me, they felt I wasn’t different than other kids."

Eddy likes to make friends, so he has no trouble getting along with others. But why did he become a football player?

Eddy Francis said, "I was weak and sick when I was a kid. My mother thought I should exercise to make my body stronger. So I chose football. I slowly gained interest in the sport. I’ve been playing it ever since."

When Eddy was 14 years, he became first mixed-race football player on a Chinese national team. He was selected for the National Youth team, which plays in international competitions.

Eddy Francis said, "I felt proud when I participated in my first match representing China. I felt honored to represent our country at such a young age. I was nervous too. I was afraid that I wouldn’t do it well."

Eddy Francis, Football player

Anyone would feel nervous in that situation. Eddy is quiet when he’s not training.

After a day of extensive exercise, Eddy usually goes to the clinic for therapy. Back at the dormitory, he relaxes by playing football video games with his teammates. He just can’t get enough of it.

Eddy Francis said, "To be honest, sometimes I felt like giving up after a more than a decade of training. I wondered whether being a football player would be too exhausting. But that only lasted for a moment. I finally decided to be a football player and now I really like it. So I think I should continue."

Eddy still has a long way to go to reach success. Training is a daily grind, and holidays are rare. Football is becoming his life.

Eddy Francis said, "My dream is making the Chinese National Team and being a great football player. And I think all football players share this dream and try their best to achieve it. I hope I can make my dream a reality."

Eddy says he’s happiest when fighting with his teammates against their rivals on the pitch.

Geng Jiayi, Eddy’S teammate said, "When I first met him, I was surprised that he spoke Shanghainese. Then I got used to it. He’s optimistic and expressive."

Eddy Francis said, "Don’t think of yourself as someone special. Everyone is the same, there’s no difference between us. Try to fit in the group around you. Don’t be afraid. You may think you are special, but others won’t think so. They may think you are the same. Just be yourself and fit in the group."

As China is developing rapidly and becoming more globalized, there are more and more mixed race children here. As they pursue their dreams. They are redifining what it means to be a Chinese.

Looking forward to your feedback, you can contact us at


Editor:Wang Shuo |Source:

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