Drake-China Ambassadors Bowl: Drake Bulldogs to face American Football League of China All Stars in Beijing

The Drake University Bulldogs (NCAA Div. I) football team has landed in the People’s Republic of China and will face a Chinese all-star team in the Drake-China Ambassadors Bowl in Beijing on Saturday, May 26.

The team has arrived in Beijing and are being hosted by University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing, an academic partner of Drake, throughout its 12-day stay in China.

Two days of practice and preparation are underway with Drake football practices open to the public at UIBE. As part of the clinics for the children and coaches the team will host leading up to the game, Drake University has donated 200 footballs to aid development of the sport in China.

The Bulldogs will take on an all-star team made up of players from the American Football League of China’s (AFLC) Shanghai Titans, the Iron Brothers and other Beijing-based AFLC teams, and the CAFL indoor league at 1 p.m. local time (12 a.m. US CDT) on Saturday, May 26.

Drake head coach Rick Fox:

“Drake football is excited to travel to China and interact with the people of that great country through the sport of American football. This will be a trip that will have lifelong impact on our young men and we hope it will be a benefit to the people of China as well.”

Following game day, the Bulldogs travel party of 82 people will take on a unique challenge when they hike the steep and majestic Great Wall segments of Gubeikou-Jinshanling on Monday, May 28. This challenging trek, organized by Global Football and their local coordinator Xian Aihua, will provide a rare opportunity for the team to gain personal knowledge of this world wonder by hiking two major sections. The group will spend the balance of their time in cooperative educational activities hosted by UIBE, as well as touring the spectacular city of Beijing and enjoying a U.S. Embassy visit.

This is not the first international trip for the Bulldogs.

Global Football organized and coordinated Drake’s trip to Tanzania in 2011 for the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, and will manage football operations for the visit to China this month.

“During the past decade, the sport of American football has caught hold in a number of cities in China,” said Global Football Founder and President Patrick Steenberge, who will be onsite to coordinate the visit. “The Drake Bulldogs football team will have an amazing opportunity to further the development of the sport among youth and young adults in China, just as they did in Tanzania.”

Drake’s myriad ties to China include:

• Partnerships with four Chinese universities—Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing, Southwest University of Political Science & Law in Chongqing, Minzu University of China in Beijing, and the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing—and with Shijiazhuang Foreign Language School in Shijiazhuang.

Drake’s Teach in China program, through which more than 225 Drake alumni have had the opportunity to live and teach English in China.

• Ongoing collaboration with Drake University Law School alumnus Terry Branstad throughout his career as former governor of Iowa and current U.S. ambassador to China.

Iowa’s “sister state” relationship with Hebei Province has fostered many relationships between Drake and community organizations, schools, and government offices in Hebei.

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