CAFL – Professional American Indoor Football in China

Wang a Rising Star in China’s CAFL

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(Beijing, China) September 16, 2016 – By Mick Moninghoff

Anyone can identify Tom Brady, LeBron James and Mike Trout with their respective sports. Does the name Shida Wang ring any bells? Not yet, but players and coaches in the new Chinese Arena Football League feel that the wide receiver/defensive back could be the first home grown player to put their sport on the map in a country that is by all accounts ready for some football.

Wang is from Wuhan, city sometimes referred to as the “Chicago of China” by foreigners. It’s only fitting that Wang comes from a “city with broad shoulders” as he will need some himself to carry the mantel of the leagues’ first real star.

When the 5’10”, 200 pounder on the field for the Shenzhen Naja he will be able to call on some past experience. “I played three seasons of college football in Canada at Arcadia University. I never played high school ball so that was like my internship. It was where I learned what football was all about. Right now I’m here so it’s time to shine,” said Wang.

In practice Wang has been able to make most catches look routine and the harder catches look spectacular. An accomplishment considering the fact that he’s never lined up on the offensive side of the ball.

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“Actually I’ve never played receiver before. My coach (J.W. Kenton) tells me the two most important things for a football player are to stay healthy and to make a play, so if the ball is in the air I have to catch it.”

Kenton likes what he has seen from Wang and knows he can make an impact.

“Shida in Chinese means star and that’s why I’ve been pushing him because he can be the star of our team and hopefully the league. He has the athleticism and most importantly he has the drive. He wants to be special,” his coach said.

While catching touchdowns could put Wang in the spotlight he feels he might make more of a contribution on defense. “Personally, I like to play defensive back. I love to hit people and want to steal the ball from the receiver and take it back for a “pick six.” Football is a tough sport. You have to be physically and mentally strong. When you hit someone you can destroy them mentally and I like that aspect more than making a catch.”

“He’s come along way,” Kenton said. “He’s worked on his fundamentals. He’s never really been a receiver. He’s always been a DB and I’ve been telling him if you are going to be a star you can’t ever come off the field, so he’s been working his craft on the offensive side catching the ball, learning routes and how to take care of his body, so hopefully he can do both. I don’t ever want to see him come off the field. He can be special.”

Wang is more than aware of what his success could mean for the future of football in China.

“I was the first Chinese skill player to be drafted by the league so there is some pressure on me. Even in practice I have to perform better than everyone else, but when I step on the field I have no pressure, I just do my best.”

Wang says he has a touchdown dance and hopes he will get a chance to use it on October first when Shenzhen takes on Dalian.

For more information, contact Lou Tilley at LTilley@Tilley.TV

 

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