Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Wraps Up China Tour, Reflects on Football Growth

American Football International’s China correspondent Danny Zhang writes a regular blog on football in China called Life in the Huddle. Recently, he spent time with NFL star Russell Wilson on his second trip to China.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson recently finished up his second China tour in two years, visiting Shanghai and Hangzhou. Wilson visited youth clinics, coached adult players from the American Football League of China, City Bowl, and CUAFL, and made the trip to Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou. Life in the Huddle was able to speak to Wilson directly, and got some of his thoughts on why he returned to China, as well as what it means to him to see the sport growing internationally.

“I’ve always wanted to travel. Growing up, I didn’t have very much, and I couldn’t really go anywhere. I love people, and I love culture, I love people who have different beliefs and different backgrounds, so coming to China, I get to experience that, but I also love the game of football, so to be able to share the game of football with people all over the world, and share it with youth has been great.”

“There’s a wow factor with football, and these kids get to play all the way from 7 years old, there’s this excitement to it, there’s smiles on their faces, there’s joy, there’s teamwork, and that should be anywhere in the world, why should it just be in America? It’s a sport that I care about, and I think it’s going to keep growing.”

“I love the culture of China. It’s been something that I really care about. I love the cuisine, the food is amazing, the people are amazing. I love sports, I love the youth, and that’s not limited to America, that’s all over the world, wherever I go. China is such an amazing place with so much culture. I’ve also been fortunate to come here with Nike before, and with Alibaba this time, so I’m just grateful to be here.”

Life in the Huddle also caught up with a few local football players to get their thoughts on what it meant to them to see an NFL star like Wilson come back to China.

Yang Qu, Shanghai Warriors:

“To be able to meet and receive coaching and tips from an NFL player that we can put into practice was priceless. This makes us feel like football is not just some faraway game played only by professionals, but really like it’s a true part of our lives. His visit gives us belief and encouragement that we should keep playing this sport.”

William Chan, Hong Kong Cobras

“The game is becoming international, and this is an opportunity that hasn’t happened often in the past. It’s great to introduce this new sport that Americans love on the other side of the world, and it’s also a part of American pop culture, and I can see that it’s grown in the past few years since I’ve been in Hong Kong.”