China: The Diary Of An International Leadership Team

Friday July, 30th – NFL China Office

Following a day of security briefings conducted by the US Consulate, and as the remnants of jet lag slowly
loosened their grip on the new coaches, the team met for their 3rd full day in China in down town Shanghai for a day in the offices of NFL China. Located in the luxurious Jing’an district (with more Mazerattis than MacDonalds), the team had an opportunity to hear from a team working directly with the Chinese market to promote and build support for the game, in a market that is vastly different from their own experiences playing in the top tier collegiate football culture of home.

Floyd Simmons outside the NFL China office

Floyd Simmons outside the NFL China office

The first half of the day was lead by Managing Director Richard Young, and was the source of a productive
discussion that looked not only at the rising popularity of the NFL in China, but a crucial insight into the Chinese mindset for sports and sporting events – something that the coaches will soon have direct exposure to. Through an informative session that was derived from years of experience within China (including the launch of China’s first HD TV channel), Mr. Young was able to convey some key points about how the country approaches the topic of sport, and also how people consume sports media.

Image 5 – NFL China support for new GLF coaches

NFL China support for new GLF coaches

The second half of the day was built from the same bricks of wisdom as earlier, as the team were delivered a presentation of modern Chinese history (as well as life in China) by Lee Edwards – a U.S. Born, 25-year resident of the middle kingdom, now based in Beijing.

As the group descended into deeper discussion on matters, it became clear that not only were the coaches discovering a wealth of insight, but that they had also spent a lot of time preparing for this trip as a wide range of questions flowed back and forth – despite it being the first time that Vladimir and Floyd had left the United States.

Richard Young commented on this point by saying “All three young men impressed me as thoughtful and intelligent beyond their years. They will do well in China and GLF has done well in their selection”.


The day was rounded off by an organised ‘Big 10’ social event for other collegiate expats to come together in town to meet and connect. Happy hour and happy memories were on the cards for the coaches before their first real experience of what lay ahead of them in Chinese football.

Next Page: Gridiron Leadership Foundation Clinic

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Allan was the Presenter and Co-Producer of Gridiron TV for 4 years, and also spent 10 years playing football in the UK, both at university & adult level, with 107 combined games in his career (on offense, defense and special teams). Allan is now