CHINA DAILY: “China to join seasoned soccer wars”



Lou Tilley (retaining soccer), media members of the family director for AFL Global, says he’s regularly requested if the Chinese are massive sufficient to play American football. “Well, I’m 6’3, 215, take a look at the linemen I became training at Wuhan U!” AFL Global supplied to China Daily USA

Maybe in the future they’ll speak approximately a championship sport on the frozen tundra of Bird’s Nest field. But for now, professional football in China could be performed indoors.
On September 18, 2015, the China American Football League (CAFL) will kick off with eight groups on the mainland. The CAFL is affiliated with the Arena Football League (AFL), the purveyor of 8-men-a-facet indoor soccer within the United States.

The new league is owned via enterprise government Martin Judge, founder, chairman and CEO of AFL Global and component owner of the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul. He is also the founder of the Judge Group, a professional services staffing agency specializing in IT, based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The company also has a subsidiary in China.

Judge’s companions are Wu Hua, a journalist in China and president of Ganlan Media International (forty nine percent owned through AFL Global; Ganlan comes from the Chinese word ganlan qiu, or American football); and Ron Jaworski, former NFL quarterback and modern-day ESPN football analyst. Jaworski is a majority owner of the Philadelphia Soul. Dick Vermeil, a Super Bowl-winning instruct and an established friend of Judge’s, is likewise supporting sell the new league.

Judge is ebullient while talking about his role as the daddy of American soccer in China. His bravado on the phone and his appearances in motion pictures are reminiscent of the late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis.

“I actually have my very own stamp in China,” Judge said in a phone interview with China Daily. “I’m no longer glad with that. I need a statue.”

A franchise in the CAFL will go for $10 million the first yr, $20 million inside the 2d, stated Judge, who is assured the franchises will upward thrust in price annually.
“We have 12 folks who want them now,” he stated. “Soccer franchises promote for $2 hundred million to $400 million in China. There is no [American] soccer in China. Only us.”

Judge wouldn’t display who the capability proprietors are, however he stated 4 will in all likelihood come from the United States and 4 from China.

“San Francisco is like Asia,” he said, hinting as to in which the American owners may want to come from. “I’m speaking to all the proprietors in the NBA.”

Judge no longer most effective has brought seasoned football to China, he subsidized the first Chinese university soccer playoffs in advance this month. Six groups vied for the identify.

Shandong Sport University defeated Hebei Institute of Physical Education, forty six-42, on Oct 18 on the Chaoyang Sports Center in Beijing. The collegiate event gave players a danger to exhibit their competencies beforehand of the CAFL draft subsequent spring. Athletes may be eligible for the AFL upon commencement.

“We simply had the first ever, ever, ever intercollegiate football games that six universities played in opposition to every other,” Judge stated. “They by no means performed against every other in any sports. The closing recreation had an “all-out brawl, a bench-clearing brawl. It’s much like america.”

Judge, who has worked the beyond few years to growing sport in China, also helped create the nation’s model of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA): the China Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).
The university games paradoxically were played outdoor, but beneath area football guidelines. So why the switch to interior for the pro league?

“The air pollutants in China is bad,” Judge said. “They truly don’t need to be outdoors. They love indoor sports activities: tennis, ping pong, badminton. There are 17 cities larger than New York City in China, and each one of them has an arena!”

The 20-guy teams are anticipated to be cut up calmly among Chinese and American gamers. The American gamers will come from the Arena Football League within the US. The Chinese players will probably come from the six university groups.

The average AFL player makes $832 a game inside the US, however in China, players will be paid as tons as $5,000 a game, “that is more money than they might ever make as a university graduate in China,” Judge said.

“I were given the coaches; I were given the overall managers; the assistants; I got the doctors,” Judge stated in connection with all of the other AFL employees who will participate in Chinese seasoned football. The AFL season in the US runs from March to August, so the schedules gained’t war.

Foreigners running with the AFL are getting to know that Chinese men have the right soccer attributes.

“They’re huge and robust,” Judge stated. “They have large humans and they are able to play soccer. They are competitive; they’re determined.” In the college championship, “the rating modified 11 times. The boys at the losing crew had been all crying,” he stated.

Sometimes, the gamers react as though they’re gambling a one of a kind recreation.

“They’re from a rugby global,” Judge stated. “When that ball is dropped (on an incomplete pass), they still dive for it.”

David Niu, the president of AFL Global and a former Australian rugby participant, is also optimistic approximately Chinese soccer gamers. “They’re short. They are larger than I thought they might be in terms of size and bulk. Fairly good sized university gamers crossed over from basketball, rugby, wrestling, track and area.”

They ought to paintings on blocking off and tackling (as do all football gamers), “but athletically you see a few amazing similarities among China’s athletes and another athletes around the arena,” Niu stated.

The CAFL also has hired former NFL player Ed Wang to paintings on participant development in China.

Wang (6-5, 315) turned into a four-12 months starter at offensive address for Virginia Tech and the first Chinese-American player drafted by way of the NFL. Wang’s dad and mom had been track-and-area athletes on China’s 1984 Olympic team.

He is “the face of our efforts over there”, Niu stated.

“Ed Wang is my Yao Ming,” Judge stated.

The Tianjin Pirates face the Wuhan Nine-Headed Birds at some point of the primary China American Football League (CAFL) University Championships on the Chaoyang Sports Center in Beijing in advance this month. The university games had been used as a showcase for the nascent CAFL – the first American-style soccer professional league in China – which kicks off its inaugural season in September 2015. The CAFL might be an indoor league providing Chinese players and American gamers and policies from the Arena Football League in the United States. Provided to China Daily

The league’s timing may be fortuitous, as interest in American soccer in China is surging.

According to CAFL and National Football League (NFL) statistics, the number of city Chinese ages 15-fifty four who do not forget themselves fans of American football grew from 1.6 million in 2010 to 14.1 million in 2013, or 462%.

“It is an interesting time for the sport in China,” Richard Young, coping with director of Shanghai-based NFL China, stated in an email to China Daily. “Our fan base has grown from a touch over one million four years in the past to over 14 million in 2014.”

TV viewership of NFL video games in China (not counting the Super Bowl) went from 5.Three million in 2008 to 70 million in 2013, a gain of 1,320percent. The TV audience is projected to develop to 166 million through 2022. China’s sizable television and social media networks additionally assist drive interest.

Young said that NFL China features live, not on time and highlight publicizes on more than 20 structures across China. The NFL additionally sponsors a 36-college flag football league, 28 on-ground activities and a 13-metropolis NFL truck tour.

“Every 12 months we do extra than what we did the year earlier than, and we are beginning to see the blessings, but we are simply beginning,” Young said. “We are thrilled to see the groundswell in interest in American football in China.” Young stated the NFL became supportive of the CAFL’s efforts.

The new league isn't always with out growing pains.

“The language difference is hard, especially with the referees,” Judge stated. “I actually have all American referees. Probably our biggest venture is going to be the referees. We have quite a few training to do.”

The CAFL hopes to have 14 groups in  conferences by 2016. The plan is for a North Conference made up of teams from Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shandong, Dalian and Shenyang. In the South, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Xi’an and Chongqing could be represented.

After a ten-sport regular season and playoffs, the advancing groups will play in the CAFL Arena Bowl on Dec 11, 2015. An all-superstar game is scheduled for Dec 18 in Macao.
“This is historical,” Judge said. “We’re bringing American football to China.”
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