It seems like World Cup fever is still going strong in China. Tangren recently began filming a soccer-themed drama titled Youth Soccer (少年足球), which stars newly bearded Hu Ge and So Young actress Maggie Jiang.
The plot is pretty similar to most sports-related stories you’ve seen: a losing soccer team gets a new coach, Mu Qi (Hu Ge), who turns out to be too tough on them for their liking. Mu Qi also clashes with the new intern teacher, Pei Duo (Maggie Jiang), but soon, his unique teaching practices transform the team, which finds itself competing not only in the city-wide games but also headed to the province-level tournament.
The team begins to thrive, not only in soccer but also in their studies and friendships, and Mu Qi and Pei Duo grow closer and closer. However, problems also begin to crop up, including some involving Mu Qi’s hidden past. Mu Qi ends up resigning at the end of the soccer season, but not before his fighting spirit shakes up the entire team.
Seeing as Tangren’s last modern drama was a bit of a mess (it’s too painful to even mention by name), I’m a little hesitant about Youth Soccer, especially since I don’t find soccer itself all that interesting. (*bricked?*) The drama does reunite Hu Ge with director Lee Kwok Lap, who helmed Chinese Paladin 3, Legend of the Condor Heroes 2008, and Xuan Yuan Sword, so that may be a plus for some. (Lee also directed Bu Bu Jing Xin and… its sequel. So yeah.)
And of course, Hu Ge rocking that facial hair is always worth seeing.