By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese-French soccer player Xavier Chen (陳昌源) yesterday donated NT$1 million to the Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) to promote the sport’s development in Taiwan. Speaking at a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Chen said that, although soccer is widely popular around the globe, the sport hasn’t enjoyed the same mass appeal in Taiwan as in other countries. He made the donation to do his part in promoting the sport within the country, hoping that the money could bring about a rosier outlook for the development of the sport locally. Opposition Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤), who accompanied Chen during the press conference yesterday, said the donation to the CTFA will be used to invite national teams from other countries to Taiwan for exhibition matchups. Chen was born to a Taiwanese father and a French mother in Belgium in 1983. He claimed his Republic of China nationality in 2011.
The 29-year-old athlete joined a professional team in China this January after playing five and a half years for KV Mechelen in the Belgian Pro League.
Chen was discovered in 2009 by a CTFA official who managed to persuade him to play for Taiwan’s national soccer team.
Taiwan’s star sportsman made his international debut for Taiwan, playing for Chinese Taipei, against Malaysia on July 3, 2011, scoring the winning goal.
This marked the first time in a decade that Team Taiwan beat an opponent that was ranked in the FIFA top 150.
A law school graduate from the University of Brussels, Chen is also a licensed lawyer.