8 teams join American Football League of China

While China’s City Bowl league has already begun its 2018 regular season, teams from the American Football League of China, AFLCare still in the midst of their preseasons, and will not begin regular season play until August at the earliest. The league held its annual spring meetings in March, and quite a few new teams attended the meeting and were accepted as members for the league’s sixth season of play. Here is a quick rundown of the AFLC’s newest teams.

Zhengzhou Steamer

The Steamer joined the AFLC in 2017, but did not participate in its games last season, choosing to take the year to develop further, and become ready for full participation in 2018. The Steamer are now primed to join the AFLC North Division, alongside a number of other newcomers from the capital.

Beijing Barbarians

The Barbarians are one of two new teams to have sprouted up in Beijing, and made a splash in their competitive debut by shutting out the Tianjin Pirates 32-0 in preseason action earlier in April. Being China’s second-largest city, as well as one of the major centers of NFL fans in China, it was only a matter of time before the city became home to more than just the Cyclones of the City Bowl and the AFLC’s Iron Brothers.

Capital Kirins

The Kirins are the other new Beijing team joining the AFLC for this season. The team includes former NFL Europe kicker Li Chaoran, who was also a member of the CAFL’s Qingdao Clipper in 2016. The team will not be participating in league play this season, and will focus on developing and recruiting more players, so that they will be ready for the 2019 season.

Wuhan Berserkers

The Berserkers are the city’s second football team, after the Wuhan Griffins of the City Bowl. They were founded by Wang Shida, a top draft pick of the CAFL’s Shenzhen Naja in 2016, and will play as a member of the six-team AFLC East Division.

Sichuan Troopers

Chengdu’s third football team, and second one in the AFLC, was founded in November of 2017, and is primarily made up of college students. They will make their competitive debut later this spring in the Western Bowl.

Xi’an Panthers

The Panthers are the second new team to join the AFLC West. The West Division will now have five teams total for the 2018 season.

Hangzhou Generals

The Generals have existed for a number of years, but with the team’s numbers increasing significantly in the past few months, this will finally be the year that they will be able to join the AFLC. They will be the league’s second team in Hangzhou, after the Smilodons joined last season, and will play in the AFLC East.

Wuxi Marauders

Similar to the Generals, the Marauders have also been around for a few years, and will finally be joining a league in 2018. They will be the AFLC East’s third new team, meaning that half of the division’s six teams are newcomers to the league.

 

Danny Zhang
Danny Zhang is a Chinese-American college student who grew up playing American football in the Boston area. He has a keen interest in the development of the sport in China, where he has recently studied, worked, and experienced football’s rapid growth firsthand.
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