Chapter 34: A Smile Despite Defeat
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
An Ke sat in front of the TV as he changed between channels. He felt like television channels nowadays were pretty boring and it sickened him to his stomach.
The door swung opened and the person tossed her bag before she fell onto the sofa.
An Ke aimlessly switched channels as he asked, “How was it, my spy? It’s your first day of becoming a manager.”
He Wen replied, sounding irritated, “About 10 of them had dirty uniforms… and also smelly socks…”
An Ke laughed.
“The tiring part was that I had to keep smiling!” He Wen gently massaged her face. “It’s so tiring!”
“Aunty called just now.”
“Ah? Mom? What did she say?” He Wen turned around to look at An Ke.
“She allowed me to take good care of you!” An Ke robotically clicked the remote control. “I really don’t understand, the condition in Zhengzhou’s much better! Why did you come to Luoyang instead of going to a high school there?”
“Hmph!” He Wen pouted. “I don’t like Zhengzhou, Luoyang’s my hometown.”
“I see that you really don’t want to be under your mom’s care huh? You’re such a wild girl!”
“Ah! You’re the one who taught me how to be wild! Honestly, you’re the real culprit! Hmph! If it wasn’t for you, I would’ve been a beautiful and graceful young lady, adored by the people! My spring! My image! My future…”
To have such a sister, An Ke was beginning to have a headache. He threw the remote control aside as he continued to lie on the sofa. He Wen grabbed the remote control and said, “Cartoons! Cartoons!”
The sound from the television immediately changed from “Coca Cola, enjoy the passion at every moment!” to “The word ‘genius’ is more suitable compared to him…”
“Zhongyuan…” An Ke suddenly muttered these words.
“Oh!” He Wen shouted. “I remember something. I didn’t see that goalkeeper you were talking about today. I asked the others and they said that he went for a special training session.”
An Ke sat upright and said, “What special training?”
He Wen shook her head. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen it before. I asked the others but they said they didn’t know either.”
“Special training huh…” An Ke murmured.
Liang Ke hummed a small tune as he walked towards the field. He felt emotional over the attitude of the person he was talking to earlier. “I’m just the coach of Guang Hua High School’s soccer team. It doesn’t mean much to you, but I really hope that we could have a friendly match with your school’s team this Saturday.” In the past years, Lian Ke was the one who said that to others. It was the complete opposite this year; he could get use to this kind treatment.
This year, many schools took the initiative to ask Shu Guang to play a match with them. But Liang Ke did not faint from happiness; he knew that from now on until the preliminaries, time was limited to play a valuable game. Hence it was not important if the team won or lost a game, the main point was to train them.
Guang Hua’s attack was not really good, so he did not observe them. Tie Yi High School’s offensive ability on the other hand,was not weak, so it could be used to train their own defense.
Liang Ke had no doubts in Shu Guang’s ability to attack. However, their defenses were worrying. Therefore, he decided not to be afraid of defeats anymore. After losing a match, he made sure to fix up their defenses before the preliminaries started. Of course, these were only warm-up matches and Liang Ke would not organize them in his own school. But whatever the goal was, being defeated was not a good thing; it was even worse losing in your own school. They would not know where to show their faces anymore.
During these few days of training, Liang Ke suggested that the front and back members split into two teams, having small matches against each other. One side would nurture the front four second-years with their tacit understanding and the other could train the defenders’ in their defense awareness.
Liang Ke worked hard for this soccer team. To make sure attackers synced, he arranged for Zhang Jun, Yang Pan, Kaka, Ren Yu De and An Ke to be sat together in class. Although many teachers complained about how noisy those five were in class, Liang Ke endured for the soccer team to have better results.
Liang Ke’s main point of his tactical thinking depended on the small teamwork between these four. He wanted to bring out the full potential of their personal skills. These four players had different specialties; their personal abilities were prominent but by improving upon them, their attack lineup would be enough to frighten any opponent. Zhang Jun was a full-range shooter; he was like the Terminator, who could deliver a fatal blow to his opponent at any time. Yang Pan was an almost perfect soccer player and he was the team’s anchor. Ren Yu De’s personal skills were not as inferior as that Brazilian player’s; his technique was enough to disrupt an opponent’s entire defense. When a team’s defense was chaotic, passing or shooting the ball by him would be fatal. Kaka’s passes were outstanding along with his dribbles too; his shots and free kicks were his main point to score goals. As a midfielder, he inherited the characteristics of Brazilian players. His unexpected passing often threatened the defenders but this also confused front attackers into not being able to get his passes. Fortunately, Shu Guang’s front attackers had never been your typical logical thinkers. Along with Kaka, they seemed to be a naturally golden combination.
Shu Guang’s defense could not be as casual as its offense. In their usual training, Liang Ke would always request the maintenance of the defense’s overall formation as well as the coordination and cooperation between the defenders. Shu Guang’s defenders were not as independent as Zhongyuan’s, that’s why the team’s formation was particularly important. In a small area, the superiority in their number of people could be used to gain a defensive advantage. But at the same time, the overall formation could not be disrupted. Otherwise, an opponent could form a threat by passing the ball. If Shu Guang’s offense was similar to the style of South American teams, Liang Ke decided to train his team in a European defensive style. Rigorous tactical discipline and a tenacious defensive spirit were going to be the two magic weapons that would ensure the strength of their defense.
What would become of the defense line after four warm-up matches?
“Tomorrow’s warm-up match is against Tie Yi High School. I’ve heard that their offense isn’t weak at all,” Su Fei said.
“So, tomorrow’s protagonist won’t be us, it’s going to be An Ke.” Zhang Jun kicked a small pebble.
“Hehe, are you not satisfied?” Su Fei laughed.
“Hmph! Since the game last year, we haven’t played a formal game!” Yang Pan made a gesture of shooting a long shot.
“There’s nothing we can do. Who allowed Liang Ke to train the defenders?”
“Oh! We’ll only be spectators tomorrow…”
“Let’s consider it as a vacation then…”
In Luoyang, excluding Zhongyuan Technical High and Dingding High that held the title of “unblemished kings”, Shu Guang was definitely the most popular soccer team. Kaka had already attracted quite a few female fans from other schools and the team’s performance also won many people’s empathy and good will. Therefore, even if it was just a warm-up match, it would still attract quite a few to spectate the match. Chen Huafeng was also among them, his appearance never changing. He still wore a vest with the words “High School Soccer”on it and he had a camera hanging across his chest as well as a notebook in his hands.
For the female fans who wanted a glimpse of Kaka’s smile and the others who wanted to see Yang Pan scoring the goals, they were destined to be disappointed that day. Liang Ke placed Zhang Jun, Yang Pan, Ren Yu De and Kaka on the substitute bench while the front attackers of the team were all substitutes.
Liang Ke’s actions not only provoked the audience to boo from the sidelines, but it also angered the team members of Tie Yi High School.
“Crap! They’re looking down on us! They should send one of their substitutes to us!”
“Damn it! Is it because this isn’t a match against Zhongyuan? How arrogant!”
“Let them look at Tie Yi High at the end of this match!”
The game started and Tie Yi High School’s team was already on the attack. It caused Shu Guang to be pressured during the first half of the match.
As he watched his own team panic, Liang Ke’s lips curled into a smile. This was the effect he wanted.
During the first 21 minutes, Chen Bo, who was the right-side defender kept making mistakes; he was getting crossed and passed by his opponents.
The 187-cm defensive midfielder, Lin Xiaofang blocked the ball out. The ball did not fly too far but with one kick from the opponent’s attacker, it landed at Li Jieguang’s feet. An Ke could not do anything about the situation. He signaled helplessly at Liang Ke, who was in the distance and shouted, “It’s okay! It’s okay!”
However, Shu Guang’s defense was too unbearable. Even if An Ke managed to excel again, it was still a match where they were battling against a herd of tigers and wolves. Thirty minutes had passed and Tie Yi High once again used Shu Guang’s defensive mistake to score another goal. They score was 2:0.
No matter how unfavorable the scene was, Liang Ke would not send those four to attack. Besides, they were also happy to sit leisurely there.
Yang Pan had his eyes shut as he immersed himself into a world of music; he was not concerned about what was happening on the field.
In the meantime, Zhang Jun, Kaka and Ren Yu De were fooling around. They were making a lot of noise and their laughter could continuously be heard. Looking at how they were acting, they really did look like they were on a vacation.
However, the team on the field was not there for a vacation. Tie Yi High School had taken over the second half of the game, breaking through Shu Guang’s offense and defense.
Finally, the referee sounded the whistle to signal the end of the game and the game to a close. Chen Huafeng was shocked to see the unexpected results and the other Shu Guang’s member who were just minding their own business. “What the heck are they doing?” He rushed in front of Shu Guang’s bus and stopped Liang Ke, who was about to leave.
“Teacher Liang Ke, I think―”
The moment Liang Ke saw him, he laughed and said, “I know what you’re going to ask. But I can’t tell you, sorry.” Once he was done, he moved away from the distracted Chen Huafeng and boarded the bus. The doors closed and the team left.
Cheng Huafeng was left foolishly standing on the spot. “Why was he laughing? They were terribly defeated yet he could still laugh about it?”
Liang Ke clapped his hands happily and said, “Excellent! You all did well today! Chen Bo, your mistakes are getting lesser. The only thing is, you have to pay extra attention to your timing.”
Chen Bo nodded.
“Lin Xiaofang, your card awareness and early defense have been strengthened. When you’re in a predicament, don’t be blind. You have to think about where the ball’s gonna end up. If it’s possible, give your teammates in the front a chance to attack and not give it to the opponent. As a defender, you should lessen your opponent’s chances to attack and increase your team’s chances to attack.”
Lin Xiaofang nodded too.
“In conclusion, everyone’s performance was good. I hope to see all of you improving in the next match!”
Character Profile 1.
Name: Zhang Jun
Birthday: 30th October 1982
Blood Type: AB
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 69 kg
Hobbies: Playing computer games and reading comics
Favorite Color(s): Black, white and blue
Favorite Food: Egg products and grandma’s home cooking
Favorite Music: Zhou Hua Jian’s “Friends” and “Let Me Be Happy, Let Me Be Worried”
Favorite Movie(s): None
Favorite Book(s): Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, The Smiling, and Proud Wanderer
Favorite Soccer Star(s): Romario, Bailey, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo
Favorite Soccer Team(s): Real Madrid and Brazil
The Thing He Wants Most: To have a good time with his friends
Ideal Type: Unknown