|Current season, competition or edition:|
China American Football League
|Founder||Martin E. Judge Jr.|
|President||Ed Wang (王凯)|
|No. of teams||4|
|Wuhan Gators (1st title)|
|Most titles|| Beijing Lions |
Wuhan Gators (1 title each)
|China Arena Football League|
The China Arena Football League (simplified Chinese :全国美式室内橄榄球职业联赛; traditional Chinese :全國美式室內橄欖球職業聯賽; pinyin :Quánguó Měishì Shìnèi Gǎnlǎnqiú Zhíyè Liánsài), often abbreviated as the CAFL, is a professional arena football league that plays its games in the People's Republic of China. It features players from the now-defunct Arena Football League (AFL) and other indoor football leagues' rosters while also using players from China or who are of Chinese descent, The six team, eight-on-eight football league consists of four Chinese players and four "foreign" players on the field at a time. The league began play in the fall of 2016. It is the first professional American football league to play in China. The CAFL is not directly affiliated with the AFL and is instead owned by AFL Global, LLC, a company that was created by Martin E. Judge, Jr.
In August 2012, Ganlan Media International received exclusive rights from the AFL to establish a new Chinese arena football league.The project was headed up by Martin E. Judge, Jr. and Ron Jaworski, who are both part of the Philadelphia Soul's ownership group. The CAFL has been branded as AFL China, the China American Football League and the China Arena Football League. The China Arena Football League has stuck as the league's official name. AFL coaches and trainers traveled to China to help teach the rules of the sport to squads made up of Chinese and American players with the goal of starting an official Chinese arena league.
AFL China and Ganlan Media were created in 2012 by businessman Martin E. Judge, Jr., founder and owner of the Judge Group. The company, called AFL Global, LLC, looks to introduce and launch professional Arena Football teams and franchises in various locations throughout the world (a la NFL Europe). After their successful trip to China to help promote the game, they formally announced plans to further develop AFL China by the fall of 2014 by starting a comprehensive training program in May 2013 with exhibition games planned for the cities of Beijing and Guangzhou in October. This would be the first time professional football of any kind will be played in China with the support of the Chinese government and the CRFA (Chinese Rugby Football Association).
On November 2, 2013, AFL China and Ganlan Media presented its first exhibition "all-star game" at the Neal Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii, which was the home of the af2's Hawaiian Islanders from 2002 to 2004. The East vs. West set-up featured AFL players, led by quarterbacks Dan Raudabaugh (Philadelphia Soul) for the East All-Starsand Nick Davila (Arizona Rattlers) for the West All-Stars. Clint Dolezel (Philadelphia) coached the East and Kevin Guy (Arizona) coached the West. The East won that contest 67–63. On November 10, 2013, the second all-star game with the same two teams took place in front of over 6,000 fans at Capital Gymnasium in Beijing, China, making it the first-ever professional football game of any kind, outdoor or indoor, to be played in China. The East won that game 69–52. Ganlan Media has since dropped its corporate name and AFL Global, LLC, has become the sole rights-holder to the league which changed its name from AFL China to the CAFL.
In October 2014, the Chaoyang Sports Centre in Beijing hosted the 2014 Chinese Rugby Festival to help continue to showcase the new sport in China. Six teams, the Hebei Nirvana, Shandong Flames, Shenyang Tigers, Tianjin Pirates, Wuhan Nine Headed Birds and Xian North-West Wolves (all composed of collegiate players), played in a round-robin tournament at the first-ever CAFL University Championships to determine the inaugural champion. Shandong defeated Hebei 46–42 to win the trophy and thus cementing the CAFL's plans for a 2015 launch. Despite being marketed as an indoor game, the inaugural games were played outdoors.
The first government-sanctioned CAFL games were to be played in the fall of 2015; this was later postponed until the next year.
The 2016 season was known as the "Super Series".The championship game was called the "China Bowl". The league held its first draft on June 10, 2016. 120 players were drafted with 60 of them being Americans, including 43 who have AFL experience. 60 players from China or players who are of Chinese descent were selected as well. The league's footballs are provided by Spalding. In September 2016, Xenith became the CAFL's exclusive equipment partner and Legend Sportswear became the CAFL's exclusive jersey and merchandise partner. In 2016, all of the league's games were shown in China on iQiyi and in the United States on ONE World Sports.
In June 2017, it was announced that the 2017 season was being moved to the spring of 2018.The league held the 2017 CAFL Draft on July 10, 2017. The league postponed their second season again, announcing they would not play until 2019.
The teams for the inaugural CAFL season were announced on May 3, 2016. The inaugural teams were the Beijing Lions, Dalian Dragon Kings, Guangzhou Power, Qingdao Clipper, Shanghai Skywalkers and Shenzhen Naja.After the 2016 season, the Dalian Dragon Kings and Shenzhen Naja relocated to become the Shenyang Rhinos and Wuhan Gators, respectively.
|Beijing Lions||Beijing||Wukesong Arena||Clint Dolezel||2016|
|Shanghai Legend||Shanghai||Shanghai Oriental Sports Center||Derek Stingley||2019|
|Shenyang Rhinos||Shenyang, Liaoning||Shenyang Gymnasium||Robert Gordon||2016|
|Wuhan Gators||Wuhan, Hubei||Wuhan Gymnasium||J. W. Kenton||2016|
|Guangzhou Power||Guangzhou, Guangdong||Guangzhou Gymnasium||Ernesto Purnsley||2016|
|Qingdao Clipper||Qingdao, Shandong||Guoxin Gymnasium||Rod Miller||2016|
|Shanghai Skywalkers||Shanghai||Shanghai Oriental Sports Center||Derek Stingley||2016|
Reggie Gray is an American football wide receiver and kickoff returner who is currently a free agent.
Wayne Luis Tribue is an American football guard who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Temple. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Denver Broncos in 2012.
Jason J. Raterink is an American football coach and former quarterback, who is the current quarterbacks coach at Valor Christian High School. He played college football at Wyoming. He went undrafted during the 2005 NFL Draft.
Collin William Taylor is an arena football wide receiver who is currently a free agent.
Kent Richardson is an American football cornerback who is a free agent. He played college football at West Virginia.
Chris Dieker is an American football quarterback for the Shenyang Black Rhinos of the China Arena Football League (CAFL). After playing college football at Southern Illinois, he played for the Cleveland Gladiators of the AFL from 2013 to 2016.
Shane Austin is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. He played college football at University of Hawai'i. Austin went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and signed with the Everett Raptors of the Indoor Football League (IFL) after the draft. After starting the Raptors final games of the season, Austin was able to gain the attention of the Pittsburgh Power of the AFL. Austin was named the starting quarterback for the Power, but a broken hand caused him to miss two months of the season. Austin then was assigned to the Cleveland Gladiators where he was named the backup to Chris Dieker. With Dieker struggling for the Gladiators, Austin was given the opportunity to start and lead the Gladiators to a 14–1 record as a starter and a berth in ArenaBowl XXVII. The Gladiators lost to Arizona Rattlers in the ArenaBowl, but Austin was named Second Team All-Arena.
Michael Washington is an American football wide receiver who is a free agent. He played college football at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Power as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
Shaun Kauleinamoku is an arena football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He played collegiately at Western Oregon University. Kauleinamoku has also been member of the Spokane Shock, San Antonio Talons, Utah Blaze, Pittsburgh Power and Shanghai Skywalkers.
Tanner Varner is an American football linebacker who is currently a free agent. He first enrolled at Ellsworth Community College before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa. Varner has been a member of the Arkansas Twisters, Grand Rapids Rampage, Iowa Barnstormers, Philadelphia Soul, Omaha Nighthawks, Kansas City Command, San Jose SaberCats, Orlando Predators, Las Vegas Outlaws and Qingdao Clipper.
Luke Collis is an American football quarterback for the Georgia Doom of the American Arena League (AAL). He signed with the Spokane Shock as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He played college football at the Occidental College after transferring out of University of Nevada, Reno. He has also been a member of the Chicago Rush, Knoxville NightHawks, San Angelo Bandits, Tampa Bay Storm, Philadelphia Soul and Beijing Lions.
Sean Brackett is an American football quarterback for the Massachusetts Pirates of the National Arena League (NAL). He played college football at Columbia University.
Jake Atlee James Metz is an American football defensive end who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Shippensburg. He played for the Soul from 2015 to 2016, winning ArenaBowl XXIX in 2016. He is currently the defensive lines coach for the Souderton Area High School’s football team in Pennsylvania.
The Shenyang Rhinos are a professional arena football team based in Shenyang, Liaoning participating as members of the China Arena Football League (CAFL). They were originally called the Dalian Dragon Kings and were based in Dalian, China. Their home stadium was the Damai Center. In 2017, the Dragon Kings relocated to become the Shenyang Black Rhinos.
The 2016 CAFL season, the first season in the history of the China Arena Football League (CAFL), began on October 1, 2016. On November 6, the Beijing Lions defeated the Qingdao Clipper to win the first China Bowl.
Pat Clarke III is an American football placekicker who is currently a free agent. He has also played for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Spokane Empire, Philadelphia Soul, Beijing Lions and Baltimore Brigade.
Dwayne Hollis is an arena football defensive back who is currently a free agent. He played college football at North Carolina Wesleyan College and attended Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia. He has also been a member of the Helsinki Roosters, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Trenton Freedom, Shanghai Skywalkers, and Atlanta Legends.
James Romain is an American football defensive back who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Delaware State University and attended Far Rockaway High School in New York City.
Neal Tivis is an American football offensive lineman who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Abilene Christian University and attended Sanger High School in Sanger, Texas. He has also been a member of the Utah Blaze and Beijing Lions.
The 2019 CAFL season was the second season of the China Arena Football League (CAFL).