Hong Beats The Odds In CAFL
- Updated: September 20, 2016
(Beijing, China) September 18, 2016 – By Mick Moninghoff
How many division III football players in the United States live out their dream of playing professional football? Many go on to successful careers in business, medical or legal professions. One however has both a law degree and now the chance to strap on the pads in the pros.
David Hong played small college ball in California. He then graduated from law school at Georgetown, now at 5’10” and 273 lbs. he will play fullback and linebacker for the Shenzhen Naja in the newly formed China Arena Football League.
Hong played at Santa Barbara City College for a year and then Claremont McKenna College. “It was a fantastic experience. In D-3 we like to say that we are the real student athlete because they don’t give scholarships so we have to go to all our classes. We don’t get tutors to do the work for us and we put in a lot of work. Usually it’s the guys that really love the sport that continue to play football at the D-3 level,” he said.
Ask any football player at any level and they will tell you one of the biggest pluses in the sport is the comradery with the guys. Hong says now that feeling will be experienced by the players in China and it will help to grow the sport.
“I actually think that football is great for China. I played for one of the armature teams the Shanghai Titans. You’re in a country where most people don’t have any siblings and the football team becomes their surrogate family. These are their brothers and they actually feel that and I think it’s great for them. Kids growing up without brothers now actually feel like they’ve got a brotherhood.”
But has he seen that same team bonding in the CAFL? “Yeah I definitely think so. Our team, we’re really tight. We go everywhere together, we eat together and I think it’s a great feeling. It feels just like the same comradery that we had in college in the U.S.”
Now with the kickoff of the first season of professional football in China, Hong’s dream is close to becoming a reality.
“I just started playing with the Titans a few years ago just for fun and my girlfriend jokes with me all the time. My dream was to play professional football, granted I never imagined it would be in China.”
It’s a great example of how Hong’s football career has defied the odds.
“Growing up I was told all the time, you’re Chinese you’re body’s not a strong as the Americans, why are you playing football? How can you compete? And that was what always motivated me that was the chip on my shoulder to prove everyone wrong and that I am Chinese and that I can compete with everyone else. I moved to the States when I was three. I was born in Chong Qing, China which is where I think some of the smaller Chinese people are so people are very surprised that I’m from Chong Qing because the say you’re too big to be from Chong Qing.
It’s fantastic. I love it and the great thing about these first couple days is that we’re practicing with all the Chinese guys and even though we are on different teams, everyone is helping each other out. You can really feel the comradery just between all the Chinese guys that are here already.
If the fans can develop the same love for the game as the players, CAFL football in China will defy the odds as well.
For more information, contact Lou Tilley at LTilley@Tilley.TV