About the Shanghai Dragons
Shanghai American Football League
The Shanghai American Football League is a fast, hard hitting and exciting game open to all kids from ages 8 to 14 at the SRFC fields. This is an excellent chance to learn and play the American version of rugby. Our main focus is on building champion children, both on and off the field.
The club provides practice equipment (cones, blocking dummies, etc.) and protective equipment such as helmets with chin straps, shoulder pads and pants. The players must provide their own football shoes (non-metal cleats for grass), protective cup and mouth guard with a strap that connects to the helmet facemask. It is recommended that players purchase their own football pants (white with pads) to ensure a good fit. Additionally, players can purchase a formed cup type chin guard which will provide more comfort and, generally, a better fit. Underarmor-type skin shirts can help with comfort under the pads and help remove sweat from the body.
All players must commit to attending all practices and games. Because of the complexity and conditioning required to play the game, this commitment gives the players the best chance of success as team members (every one needs to know their role and assignments) and as a person.
The season runs through the Fall, starting with a registration and parent-player meeting in early September and ending in November.
1. Teach solid fundamental American Football skills to boys and girls from ages 8 to 14.
2. Utilize the basic rules for play as outlined in Pop Warner football in the U.S.
3. Teach and encourage safe play and sportsmanship in all participants: players, coaches, officials and parents.
4. Provide an opportunity for kids that have never played a rare chance to learn with more emphasis on learning and development than competing against teams outside of our club. This allows the players opportunities to play multiple positions to challenge their skills.
5. Players that have played the game will have the chance to maintain and improve their skills. They will also have the chance to teach their team mates how to play and lead by example.
6. Play games to test and improve the abilities of all players.
7. Have fun!
In the Spring of 2007, a group of parents decided to give their children a chance to play American Football in Shanghai. They organized, acquired and shipped equipment to Shanghai for use by children from ages 8 to 14. With a team of volunteer parents providing coaching and officiating, a group of 45 kids learned, maintained and improved their football skills. They played six games in the Zhang Jiang area of Pudong with two groups of teams, Juniors (8 to 10) and Seniors (11 to 14). Everyone had a great time!
After one successful season, repatriation claimed the leadership of the program and the league did not reconvene in 2008.
2009 brought a revitalize interest in continuing the program. A new group of parents gathered and defined a new location, Shanghai Rugby Football Club (SRFC) to play American Football. With a great initiation support of reduced rates and, as many as twenty volunteers, including a former player as a coach, the season was started in September 2009 with 35 players. While there was a smaller group, everyone really worked hard to make the season a success. Once again, all of the players, coaches, officials and parents enjoyed a fantastic season, culminating with exciting ‘championship’ games held at a field in Jinqiao on a beautiful Fall day.
A Board of Directors was established to help consult and address the multiple issues of running such a program. Their attentiveness and inspired participation helped to outline the future direction of the program.
Plans for the future include programs for younger and older kids. We have introduced flag football in the spring of 2010 and plan to continue it to allow younger kids a chance to develop such skills. This can also be extended to kids (including parents) of age above 14 years old. As the program strengthens, games against teams from places such as Singapore, Kuala Lampur, Korea or other Asian countries are envisioned.
Football is a rough contact sport. It has a risk of injury at any time, as all sports do. Statistics for junior sports show that American Football actually has less injuries than most other youth sports, including soccer, basketball and baseball. A large part of this is due to teaching of proper techniques, grouping kids into similar sizes and abilities, and monitoring by coaches and officials. For more information about the philosophy that we follow, we refer you to the Pop Warner website.
In the two seasons of the program, we have only had two significant injuries requiring medical attention. Both eventually were defined as muscle injuries which, with rest and proper care, resolved themselves and both boys were able to resume full physical activities.