Thursday, January 17, 2013

Arena Football League And Soul Preparing For China Experiment

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.
The 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 to China.
Tom 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.
Jaworski, 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.
“It’s 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.”
A 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.
At Saturday’s tryout at the NovaCare Complex, Soul Head Coach Clint Dolezel, Goodhines and other staff members will be evaluating all players in attendance.

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