The schedules are set, the arenas booked, the teams have hometowns, logos, names, coaches, and now the players have been added.
Having received the official approval from the China government, the new China American Football League (CAFL) will have its league debut in the Fall of 2016. “This will be China’s first ever professional league of American-style football, played by the best players in the world,” says David Niu, president of AFL Global, the founding corporation based in Conshohocken, PA. Many of the rosters will feature Chinese players who have been training for the arena game at select Chinese Universities.
The China Arena Football League will kick off its inaugural season in October 2016 with six teams. It’s been three years in the making for the CAFL and organizers have been determined to build a strong foundation. The historic league is the brainchild of very successful businessman Marty Judge, owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League.
Judge has teamed up with partners and NFL Greats Ron Jaworksi and Dick Vermeil. Other team executives include former NFL lineman Ed Wang (VP of League Development); former rugby player, coach and developer David Niu (President, AFL Global), and the head of football operations, Ken Bozarth. Chief Executive Officer of the CAFL is Gary R. Morris, who is president of the Judge Group.
On June 10th the CAFL held the league’s first-ever player draft, which was streamed live around the world and was broadcast in English and Mandarin. Over 500 players have registered for the draft, including many current US AFL star players, as well as standouts from Germany, Spain, and Italy.
The CAFL Draft Show was anchored in the US by veteran sports broadcaster Lou Tilley, who will be joined in the studio by football experts from both the US and China. Ed Wang will serve as a studio analyst. The former Virginia Tech and NFL standout lineman is the son of two native China Olympic athletes and heads the CAFL’s Beijing office. Ed’s brother David, also a standout at Virginia Tech, is expected to be selected in the first round. Clint Dolezel, the current head coach of the Philadelphia Soul, who will coach the Beijing Lions in the CAFL, will join the studio analysis, as will former NFL player and current AFL coach Phil Bogle. Other special guests will include CAFL and AFL-Global founder Marty Judge, along with founding partners Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil.
For more on the CAFL, log on to www.caflfootball.com.