American football is gaining more widespread appeal in China. The AFCEA (American Football in China Exchange Association) recently held a one-day informational/instructional conference in collaboration with The Oakland Raiders at the prestigious Shanghai Sports University. The Raiders provided the AFCEA with t-shirts and merchandise for more than 50 participants in attendance. Guests were also treated to on-field demonstrations and classroom lectures covering a wide range of football topics. The AFCEA staff and coaches offered insight on football strategy and techniques, discussed common practices in American football culture and addressed inquiries from the attendees concerning the nuances of the game.
Since 2006, the Raiders have supported the AFCEA and promoted American football in China via its Multicultural Initiatives and Youth Initiatives programs. In 2006, the Raiders and the AFCEA sponsored Chinese football coaches and co-coordinators of the conference, Tang Hai Yan and Zhou Xiao Hua, on their trip to the Raiders training camp facility in Napa, Calif., for the International Guest Coaches Program. It was here that the coaches were able to obtain first hand knowledge about the intricacies of the game. Both Tang and Zhou credit their Raider experiences for the growth of football in China. As these coaches will readily attest, those experiences have stirred a great deal of excitement about football and the Raider Nation.
"Shanghai football fans are very sophisticated," says Tang Hai Yan, Director of AFCEA. "Six years ago, when we started football interest in China, people were very hesitant to look at a new sport to support. But now fans know the little things about their favorite football teams and players."
Bay Area assistant high school football coach Shann Chu offers instruction at Shanghai Sports University.**
The growing football interest in Shanghai has fueled local fan websites. "We wanted to put up a site for everything American football...kind of a one-stop place for Shanghai fans to meet as a community," says Lu Kang Jie, owner of www.tdl100.com. "We've gotten a lot of feedback and have found there are football fans everywhere in China."
Shann Chu, who has served as an assistant high school football coach in the Bay Area, also taught at the AFCEA event.
The recent conference in Shanghai is a testament to the Raiders commitment to spreading the game of football to Shanghai and beyond. The Raiders have played a pivotal role in increasing the popularity of the sport in the world's most populous nation.
And as football continues to advance in China, the Silver and Black will be there every step of the way.
In 2008, Raider representatives were invited to China to assist with the NFL's large-scale campaign to kick off not only the NFL's 2008 season but also the continued efforts to introduce American football to China. Raider representatives were also part of the sixth annual NFL Flag Football World Championship that took place in Beijing, China in 2005.
The Silver and Black reaches an international audience through the team's official websites in English, Spanish, Chinese, German, Japanese and Tagalog.