The Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League will break new ground this weekend when about a dozen athletes from China will participate in the team’s open tryout Jan. 19 at the Philadelphia Eagles’ NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia.
The addition of the players from China is part of an effort to bring Arena Football League-style football to that country.
initiative is being led by Philadelphia Soul President Ron Jaworski, an
ESPN commentator and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, and Marty
Judge, also a co-owner of the Soul and the founder and CEO of the Judge
Group. The contacts Judge made in Asia through his West Conshohocken,
Pa., consulting firm helped facilitate the plan to bring arena football
Goodhines, the Soul’s general manager, said the group of players from
China will include some with college football experience and others who
are rugby players.
in an interview at his offices at NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J., said
there are plans have AFL exhibition games in China this fall as a
prelude to establishing a six-team, 10-game season featuring a mix of
players from China and United States beginning in the fall of 2014.
an enormous project,” Jaworski said. “We understand that, but the
opportunities are tremendous. To grow the game of football and our brand
of football in China — it’s something the Nikes and Under Armours of
the world are watching very closely.”
group of Soul executives and others involved in the project plan to
travel to China next week to further develop plans. Future plans include
representatives from China coming to Philadelphia to tour the Soul’s
facilities, and holding a coaching clinic in China to explain the AFL
game in greater detail to potential coaches.
Saturday’s tryout at the NovaCare Complex, Soul Head Coach Clint
Dolezel, Goodhines and other staff members will be evaluating all
players in attendance.