“LOCAL” PLAYERS LOOK TO MAKE THEIR MARK
- Updated: September 6, 2016
Conshohocken, PA (9 September, 2016) – By Mick Moninghoff
With the kickoff of the Chinese Arena Football League fast approaching, fans of the new league will have no problem identifying some of the top talents from the United States like receiver Joe Hills of the Dalian Dragon Kings or Quarterback Shane Austin of the Shanghai Skywalkers, but which Chinese players will catch their attention?
We posed that question to Datong Wang, assistant coach of the Shenzhen Naja. Wang is no stranger to football in China having played for the Shanghai Warriors and he was also the driving force behind the Shanghai Titans American Football Club as its founder, player and coach.
Wang is aware of the doubts regarding how the Chinese players will perform against their American counterparts, but sees this as an ideal time for the CAFL to start growing and developing “local stars” for the next generation of CAFL fans.
Wang has seen a few players on the Naja making great strides including Xu Xin (Ken Xin), a 34 year old from Zhuahi, Guangdong and De Montfort University.
“Ken has played professional football in Europe before and attended couple NFL mini camps. He has the experience and understands what it will take to compete with top notch US players.”
Xin has the size to make an impact at 6’2” and 264 pounds. He also has the nickname “the Oriental People Eater.” Xin says it’s that kind of toughness that will help football catch on with its new audience.
“China needs football to instill more masculinity and it can help overcome hardship. These are good qualities for our teens to have. I want to use my own experiences to influence people, to let them know that the Chinese people can play professional football. We also need experienced Chinese football players to draw more people into the game,” he added.
Another player to watch is defensive lineman and fullback Jiawei (David) Hong who played small college football in America in Claremont, California for the CMS Stags.
“David played division III football in the U.S.,” Datong said. “Although he’s a bit under sized at the professional level, he has the experience and smarts over most other local players and he is hungry for competition.” Hong stands in at 5’9” and tips the scales at 273 pounds.
If there is a budding all Chinese passing combination, Datong says it just might be Tao Yu to Shida Wang, but it may take some time to develop.
“Wide receiver Shida Wang played college football in Canada and he is probably one of the most talented local skill position player in the country. QB is probably the hardest position in football and it will be extremely difficult for local players to break into the position. However, Tao (Taylor) Yu is the hardest working player I have ever met and he will be the best Chinese QB for years to come. He might not make a big splash this season, but keep an eye on him, he will make an impact sooner or later.”
Yu feels there is a need for football in China and he wants to excel. “I want to be the best quarterback in China,” said Yu. “China needs sports like football that represent strength and it also enhances teamwork.”
The Shenzhen Naja opens its season on October 1 vs. the Dalian Dragon Kings.
For more information, contact Lou Tilley at LTilley@Tilley.TV