Wang Brings Experience to CAFL
- Updated: September 7, 2016
Conshohocken, PA (September 7, 2016) – By Mick Moninghoff
Arena Football may be new to China but it’s become a way of life for Shenzhen Naja assistant coach Datong Wang. Wang was born in China and started playing football as a 12 year old when he moved to the United States. He played high school football in Hawaii and remained a fan of the game while attending the University of Illinois. After receiving his MBA from University of Hawaii in 2005 he returned to China. Seven years later it was back to tackle football with The Shanghai Warriors. In 2013 he moved on to form the Shanghai Titans American Football Club as a player and a coach. Now he can’t wait to see how the China Arena Football League will be received.
“I am very excited about the league and the upcoming season. Football has grown rapidly at the amateur level the past five years in China and I think it’s ripe for a professional league to develop here. There are doubts out there regarding how the Chinese players will perform against their American counterparts and there will definitely be some early struggles, but I think we will see the gap close rapidly within the next few years. Also sports are becoming more integrated into people’s lives in China, especially for the younger generation, so I think this is a great time for CAFL to start growing and develop local stars for the next generation of Chinese fans.”
Wang has also made a successful transition in to television as an NFL color commentator. After working with SINA.com in the 2008-2009 season, he filled the same role for the next five seasons with PPTV. There he had to be objective. Now he admits he might be a little more biased working with Shenzhen.
“The Naja focused on drafting local talent first and as a result we have probably the best collection of Chinese players in the league. These players have made great strides the last couple of months in preparation for the season, but they still have a long ways to go. Football is a complicated sport, it’s very difficult for any player with limited experience to step in and make an impact right away, but with the right coaching and work ethic that could happen. I am excited to see how these and other players develop and contribute to their teams this season.”
Wang will be the first to tell you that there is much to do as his team prepares for the upcoming season, but he still tries to find time to follow one of his favorite past times, football of course.
“I’m a big fan of Illinois and college football in general, although in recent years I have not watched a lot of NCAA games as they are difficult to see in China. I do follow them and check up on them to see how they are doing. There have been some rough years for the Illini recently, but with Coach Lovie Smith on board, we should turn things around.”
For more information, contact Lou Tilley at LTilley@Tilley.TV