The Story of SIAFL: Shenzhen’s Top Football League For Foreigners

Football is an important part of many foreigners lives and that doesn’t change for them when they move to cities like Shenzhen. Luckily, for those who want to continue to enjoy their passion, there is the Shenzhen International Amateur Football League (known as SIAFL for short). 

With the new season starting on Monday April 8th, Shenzhen Party thought it was the perfect time to sit down with the league’s chairman, Johan Liden, to discuss the story of SIAFL.

Tigers take on Dragons back in SIAFL 2016

Shenzhen Party (SZP­): What is the history of SIAFL? How did it all start?

Johan Liden (JL): A group of smart Shenzhen based football enthusiasts decided to organize an expats league in 2012. The group was already involved in several teams and communities around Shenzhen and came together to create a serious league around a common set of rules.

Nick Thompson was the driving force and was chairman from the first season in 2013 all the way to 2017. Nick still contributes significantly to SIAFL as part of SIAFL’s executive committee with myself and Ryan Tang. From the guys that were involved already from the beginning, Tansel Oender is still a major contributor with Inter Shenzhen, Kim Lee of Lunatics, and Pedro Pinto as manager of Tigers F.C.

Devils, SIAFL 2018

SZP: What is your own personal history with the league? How did you first become involved as a player? How did your role grow from there?

JL: I came in contact with SIAFL sometime midseason 2015 when I had made friends with the guys in Tigers F.C. and started playing football with them. Then I met Nick Thompson, the SIAFL founder and chairman at that time, and we connected from day one. From there, I helped Nick out with the league in 2016 and 2017 as much as I could.

When Nick announced at the conclusion of the 2017 season that he would be busy in 2018 with work and travel and wanted to step down, the managers of the teams in SIAFL appointed myself and Ryan Tang, manager of Lions F.C., to take over the reins, so to speak. Ryan and I developed a plan for 2018 that was later confirmed at a team managers’ meeting and I took over as chairman before the 2018 season started.

Dragons, SIAFL 2018

SZP: Is there much diversity in the league in terms of ethnicity and nationality?

JL: Yes. Very much so. We have 10 teams now in SIAFL and more than 285 players played in the league at different times during the last season. Last year, players from 52 countries represented SIAFL teams. Football is truly global and SIAFL definitely proves that football can unite people from all over the world.

Los Turcos, SIAFL 2018

SZP: How would you describe the competitiveness of the league? What is the balance between players going to have a good time and teams looking to win?

JL: I am proud to say that SIAFL 2018 displayed an almost perfect mix of competitiveness and community features, and we are excited to see that continue in the new season.

And for sure, it gets heated sometimes, that comes with the level of competitiveness. The top teams in SIAFL are very, very good for amateur football level. There are a lot of football coaches in Shenzhen and most of them play for SIAFL teams. We have several ex-professional players in SIAFL as well as guys that just like to come down once a week to try to win a game with their friends. So, diversity is there too.

Last season, Shenzhen Tigers F.C. were the SIAFL 2018 Champions after winning their last game against East Side 5-1. When title rival Inter Shenzhen lost to a strong Dragons side by 2-5, the Tigers secured the title 3 points clear at the top of the table.

With the league season completed, we played two knockout competitions, the Cup and the Plate. The top teams played the Cup and the team’s placed on lower league positions played the Plate. This gave teams that didn’t get good enough results during the full season – and therefore are out of contention of winning the league – to still have the opportunity to win a trophy at the end of the season. In 2018, Inter Shenzhen ran out victorious against Tigers in the Cup, while East Side beat Dragons in the Plate.

Tigers, SIAFL 2018

SZP: Currently there are no Chinese teams in the league. Are there any plans for that change?

JL: We are looking into that. We had one Chinese team under consideration for joining SIAFL in 2018. In the end that didn’t happen. Let’s see in future. The possibility of expanding our community and league by building a bridge to the Chinese football community in Shenzhen is something that we are very keen on exploring.

Lions, SIAFL 2018

SZP: Does SIAFL arrange events on the social side of things too?

JL: We have an opening party and a closing party every season. Last year we hosted an additional, separate party to celebrate the completion of the league season and the league champion. The party started at the pitches during the games for the fans and continued after the games at our SIAFL head sponsor Xpats Bar & Grill at Central Walk in Futian.

Last year, the season-ending party was hosted on the night when we had the Cup and Plate finals. All of this is possible thanks to the tremendous support that SIAFL receives from Xpats Bar & Grill and the owner Phenix.

Wolves (wearing green) battle for victory in SIAFL 2018

SZP: What are the future plans for SIAFL?

JL: Major changes or additions to league format and rules are decided at team managers’ meetings between seasons. We have been discussing to have a first and second division to be able to offer even more focus on competitiveness for the top division and yet offer a second division with more focus on community and having a laugh.

The format and rules of SIAFL were very smartly stipulated from the beginning and have carefully been updated and amended for six years so they work well under the specific circumstances of running an expats amateur football league in the city of Shenzhen. In short, we want to improve and add features but will do so carefully.

Pests, SIAFL 2016

SZP: What do you think makes SIAFL such an important part of the expat community in Shenzhen?

JL: First, football is the best sport ever invented in human history. Football unites and is global. Second, the structure of SIAFL is very smartly designed.

Those two factors are a great foundation. But at the end of the day, the people in SIAFL must be my answer. There were some very special and awesome people that not only founded SIAFL in the right way, they also took care of SIAFL and constantly improved our league over the years. These special guys are still a huge part of SIAFL. And of course, fantastic people attract more fantastic people. The people in SIAFL are a crazy (the good type of crazy!) and an amazing group that I am very proud to be part of.

The Tigers celebrate winning SIAFL 2018

SZP: If someone wishes to join a team in the league, what is the best way to get in touch?

JL: www.siafl.org is a good start. Register a profile there and you get access to contacting managers of the SIAFL teams.

Another way is just to come down to our games. We play most Mondays from April to December with a summer break in July and August. You find all info on our website. I also think that there is great chance to meet SIAFL people all around the city that can bring you to a football session. Any interested football fans out there can also send me a message so that I can help out pointing them in the right direction.

If I may, here at the end of this interview, I want to take the chance to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to our league head sponsor Xpats Bar & Grill and owner Phenix, and to Nick Thompson, Ryan Tang, Dmitry Antonov, and Cindy Liu for their fundamental support to SIAFL and of course to all the teams, managers, players, and fans. Together we all make it all happen.

Unlimited World Cup BBQ & Beer at the Wyndham Grand

The Wyndham Grand is a well-known international 5-star hotel. Open in Futian CBD, since January 2015, the Wyndham Grand never ceases to impress, and this summer is no exception. To celebrate the FIFA 2018 World Cup beginning on 14th June, the Wyndham Grand is hosting a summer barbeque buffet with free-flow craft beer for the bargain price of RMB188 per person.Wyndham GrandWorld Cup BBQ

Situated in the picturesque outdoor garden of Vintage Bar on the ground floor, the barbeque buffet offer will begin on 13th June and run until 15th July when the World Cup ends. Matches will be shown live on televisions in the only outdoor hotel garden in Shenzhen. What better way to enjoy the game than with unlimited glasses of ice-cold craft beer and a never-ending plate of tasty barbeque food?World Cup Combo at the Wyndham Grand

As well as free-flow craft beer or soft drinks, there is a delightful range of barbeque foods cooked fresh to order. Shrimp, squid, oyster and Japanese mackerel are the seafood delicacies you can sample, along with a variety of beef, lamb, chicken and pork barbeque dishes, all seasoned deliciously. If vegetables are more your style, try the barbeque corn-on-the-cob or roasted garlic eggplant. All of these dishes will be cooked as you order them to ensure the freshness of the food and that they are prepared to your requirements.

Before and between the matches there will be the opportunity to play games and win prizes. For every match you can predict who you think will win and each entry will have the chance to win a voucher for RMB500 that can be spent in any of the Wyndham Grand’s bars or restaurants. Whoever predicts the winner of the final will be in with a chance to win RMB3000 voucher plus free-flow beer at Vintage Bar until the end of 2018! A fantastic prize, by any standard. In addition, there will be smaller prizes on offer for customers who score a goal in the Wyndham Grand mini-goal.

Vintage Bar outdoor garden

Director of Food and Beverage from the Wyndham Grand, Shenzhen, Roy Huang has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 15 years and joined this hotel about 2 years ago. He shared with us his aim is to have the best outdoor bar in Futian CBD, and he understands that the key element is staff. To that end, all new staff have at least two whole day’s training in the first month before they are assigned to the appropriate position to provide quality service. All employees also have training once a month to ensure the highest standards are maintained. This process is obviously working as there has been an excellent retention of staff since opening.Roy Huang, DFB

The Vintage Bar and attached open-air garden is a stylish setting, suitable for any event. The Wyndham Grand is in an ideal location in central Futian, easy to get to by metro (Gangxia station) or by taxi. A warm welcome will greet you as you enter the foyer and on your left you will see the distinctive sign of Vintage Bar. A list of match dates and times will be on display in the entrance to the bar, so you can keep track of who is playing when. Due to the time difference between here and Russia, some of the matches will be on well past midnight; however, Vintage Bar – and the barbeque – will stay open until the last match finishes each night.World Cup BBQ

Whether you enjoy football (or soccer, as some people call it) or not, the Wyndham Grand World Cup Combo offer is one not to be missed. Bring your friends, play some games, win some prizes, and enjoy 5-star food and drink in an exclusive setting, all at the same time and for the great price of RMB188+10%+6% per person. . What more could you ask for?

For reservations or enquiries call 0755 82998888 ext.8550.

Address: 2009 Caitian Road, Futian CBD, Shenzhen.

Rugby vs American Football

They’re both called ‘olive ball’ here in China. But what are the differences between rugby and American football? 

在中国它们通通被称为『橄榄球』,但是究竟英式橄榄球RUGBY和美式橄榄球(又称为美式足球)究竟有什么区别呢?

Most people will point out that American football players are covered in armor whereas rugby players simply wear a mouthpiece. Both are full contact sports which require intense ball carrying and tackling but there are many differences that make each sport quite unique. 

人们通常都会指出,美式橄榄球运动员通常全副武装,而英式橄榄球运动员仅仅一个牙套就够了。实际上这两项运动都是完全的接触性运动,需要有密集的传球和铲球。但二者又大径不同使得这两项运动都独一无二。

First off, rugby is older and American football evolved from rugby’s core. So basics like tackling and scoring are similar. American football terms such as touchdown and field goal came directly from rugby in the 19th Century.

首先,英式橄榄球历史更源远一些,美式橄榄球后根据英式橄榄球的核心发展而来,所以他们的基本规则和得分是十分相似的。例如美式橄榄球中的触地得分和射门得分则早在十九世纪由英式橄榄球规则当中直接演变而来。

Here are the key differences:

Rugby is played by 15 per side. That’s 30 players on the pitch with only one referee. Players stay on the pitch the entire match playing offense and defense until they are taken out of the game. Once a player is substituted he cannot rejoin the match.

以下是英式和美式之间的关键不同之处:

英式橄榄球每队由15名球员组成,场上一共只有三十名球员和一名裁判。在比赛结束之前,所有的球员都在场上进行防守和进攻,一旦球员被替换下场,他将不能重新参加该场比赛。

Football is 11 per side. Players are specialized and play only certain plays, can come in and out every play. 

美式橄榄球每队由11人组成,除了特定的比赛需要,场上可以随时替换或全部的球员。

Rugby players run forward and pass backwards to advance the ball. No blocking or running out of bounds is allowed.

Football players can run forward or pass over the defense to advance the ball. Blocking assists the runner and running out of bounds allows the offense to retain possession of the ball.

英式橄榄球球员通常是向前跑和向身位靠后的球员传球来推进战线,进攻方的其他球员不可以超过持球球员,也不可以冲撞和阻挡不持球的球员或者持球出界。

美式橄榄球的球员则可以向前跑或者通过穿越防守方传球来推进防线,进攻方球员可以帮助持球者冲撞防守方球员为其打开进攻空间,即便持球者跑出界,仍旧保持球权。

Rugby players can kick as an attack and retain possession.

Football players usually kick to surrender possession.

Rugby is nonstop with quick restarts.

Football is full of stoppages, timeouts, and long breaks for quarters and injuries.

英式橄榄球球员可以进攻踢球并保持球权。

而美式通常踢球后需交出球权。

英式橄榄球通常开赛后赛程紧凑,没有计时暂停,而美式则有很多暂停, 超时,或者四分之一赛时后和有受伤时都将暂停比赛计时。

Scoring by touching the ball down in the end zone in rugby is 5 points followed by a 2 point kick.

Scoring by crossing the goal line of the end zone in football is 6 points followed by a 1 point kick.

英式橄榄球的在对方得分区持球触地(达阵)得分5分,达阵后还可以踢射门一次,射中2分。

美式橄榄球可直接带球穿越得分线达阵,达阵得分6分,完成达阵得分后可踢射门得分1分。

A rugby penalty kick is 3 points and a drop goal taken during the play is also 3 points. Any player can kick.

An American football field goal is 3 points and is taken by the kicking specialist who usually does nothing else but this.

英式橄榄球罚踢得3分,或在比赛过程中直接射门同样得3分。场上任何球员都可踢射。但在美式中射门得分同样3分,但不同的说通常都会有特定的踢射球员,而这个人除了射门也只有射门而已。

Rugby tackles turn into rucks and play continues.

Football tackles end the play and everyone has a chance to reset before the next play.

英式橄榄球在比赛过程当中,如果持球者被扑搂(Tackle)摔倒,双方球员上来抢夺地上的球时形成RUCK,比赛继续。而在美式中,持球者被扑搂摔倒后,比赛暂停,而所有人都有机会在比赛继续时重新调整战略甚至是球员。

Rugby offers the defense many chances to win back the ball. After every tackle a ruck is formed where both teams try to force each other backwards to win the ball. Scrums and lineouts restart the match when the a foul has been committed or the ball has gone out of bounds. These both also allow the defense a chance to win the ball back. 

英式为防守方提供了很多赢回球权的机会。每次铲球后,两队都试图互相迫使对方后退以赢得球权。当出现犯规或者出界时,Scrum(俗称斗牛)和Lineout(列队争球)是最常见的两种重新回复比赛的形式。这两种方式都让防守方有机会赢回球权。

Play is restarted in American football by snapping the ball to the quarterback. Referees reset the ball after each play.

在美式当中,任何开球都必须首先传给四分卫。每次恢复比赛后由裁判重新设置开球。

Rugby players run around for 80 mins, tackle, kick, pass, and run. This means all sorts of body types are needed- tall skinny players, short round players, light quick players, etc. There is a position for everyone.

Football positions are specialized. A player who catches almost never will be asked to tackle. A passer will never have to kick, etc. There are positions that rarely have to run and most defenders never have to run with the ball, pass, catch, or kick.

在英式橄榄球80分钟左右的比赛中,所有球员都有可能需要完成扑搂,传球,射门,带球等动作,这就意味着无论你的体格如何,高矮胖瘦,英式橄榄球总有一个属于你的位置。

而美式就稍稍有些不同了,基本上来说每个人都有自己特定的位置和任务。例如接球者不会安排扑搂的动作,带球者可能永远不用踢射等等,例如这些特定的位置很少需要奔跑,并且大多数的防守者都不需要有带球跑,传球,接球或者踢射这些动作。

Rugby games are 80 mins long with a short halftime and a running clock.

Football games are 60 mins long with breaks for each quarter. The clock stops for numerous reasons and each team can call time outs.

英式橄榄球大约时长80分钟左右,中场休息非常短暂,而比赛开场后计时不会停止。

美式橄榄球赛时实际只有60分钟,比赛分四个赛节,每四分之一(15分钟)比赛休息一次。但总有诸多原因会暂停比赛计时,因此看球赛的人永远不知道这场比赛会进行多久。

Overall, rugby is for all-around athletes where teamwork and on-field decision making win or lose games.

Football is more of a chess match between two coaches who call plays executed by specialized players good at their positions.

总体来说,英式橄榄球是一个全能运动员的运动项目,团队合作和赛场决策都有可能赢得或输掉比赛。

美式橄榄球相对于来说更像两队教练之间的抉择,他们的球员则像是这场体能国际象棋赛中的棋子,球员的安排甚至决定了比赛的结果。

Come experience rugby in person here in Shenzhen. For more information please subscribe Shenzhen Dragons Rugby Club Wechat. 

欢迎大家加入我们体验一下英式橄榄球的魅力吧。有关更多信息请访问深圳龙队英式橄榄球俱乐部或关注我们的微信公众平台。

Place Phone:

+86 13823544352

MISSION HILLS HAIKOU VOTED BEST GOLF RESORT IN ASIA PACIFIC FOR SIXTH YEAR RUNNING

[Shenzhen, China – 24 November 2017] Mission Hills Group in China led the way at the 2017 Asian Golf Awards in Danang, Vietnam, collecting a host of awards including Best Golf Resort in Asia Pacific for Mission Hills Haikou, a title the facility has held since 2012. AsianGolf AwardsTP
Brothers Ken and Tenniel Chu – Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Mission Hills Group – were recognized for topping the Most Powerful People in Asian Golf list for the sixth successive year.  Tenniel Chu also received the inaugural Asia Pacific Leadership Award for his contributions to junior golf development.AsianGolfAwards2.jpgMission Hills Haikou – which with ten public golf courses is the world’s largest public golf facility – has been in the headlines again in 2017 following ground-breaking announcements with FC Barcelona and the NBA.  Strategic partnerships have been established between Mission Hills and two of sport’s most famous brands which will further establish the Haikou resort as a centre of excellence not just for golf but also football and basketball.

The 22-square-kilometer Mission Hills Haikou resort on the international tourism island of Hainan also received Best Clubhouse in Asia Pacific and Best Pro Shop in Asia Pacific while its flagship Blackstone Course was first runner-up in the categories of Best Championship Course in Asia Pacific and Best Course in China.

Ken and Tenniel Chu continue to dominate the category of Most Powerful People in Asian Golf, having topped the list since it was first published in 2012.  Tenniel Chu’s Leadership Award for junior golf development came in a year which has seen more than 25,000 junior golfers enter through the doors of its two properties: Mission Hills Shenzhen and Dongguan in southern China – which with 12 golf courses is the largest golf club in the world – and Mission Hills Haikou in Hainan.
About Mission Hills Group

Mission Hills Group, owner and operator of Mission Hills resorts in the heart of the Pearl River Delta and on the tropical island of Hainan, is synonymous with leisure, wellness, entertainment and luxury. 

Founded in 1992, Mission Hills is recognized as one of the world’s leading golf brands and a pioneer in China’s hospitality, sports and leisure industry.  The world-class integrated leisure and wellness resort destinations have hosted more than 100 international tournaments, dating back to the World Cup of Golf in 1995, the first international golf tournament in China.  Mission Hills has also been accredited by the Guinness World Records as the “World’s Largest Golf Club” and the “World’s Largest Mineral Springs and Spa Resort”. 

Mission Hills’ properties sprawl over 40km2. They include 22 championship courses designed by renowned players and architects from five continents, five-star resorts, award-winning spas and volcanic mineral springs, international convention centers, state-of-the-art golf academies, a 20-pitch football training base, Asia’s largest basketball school and Asia’s biggest tennis facility. Mission Hills is also the official training headquarters for China’s Tennis, Football and Golf Associations. 

The Group’s ‘golf and more’ leisure philosophy has catalyzed its tourism-related business expansion into a leisure hub for multi-generational families.  Mission Hills Centreville in Shenzhen and Haikou provides integrated shopping, recreational, business, education, entertainment, leisure and cultural experiences, including Bromsgrove School Mission Hills in Shenzhen in collaboration with the historic British boarding school.  Mission Hills has also extended its foray into the hospitality industry by partnering with world-renowned hotel brands such as Hard Rock, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton.  These collaborations have seen the opening of Ritz-Carlton’s first golf resort hotel in China and China’s first Hard Rock Hotel in Shenzhen. 
 
Other significant projects include Movie Town in Haikou in partnership with China’s largest film production company, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation and award-winning director, Feng Xiaogang and China’s first Wet’n’Wild water park in collaboration with Australia’s leading entertainment group and largest theme park operator, Village Roadshow Limited.

Mission Hills has also announced ground-breaking partnerships with FC Barcelona and the NBA to bring the world’s most famous football club and the world’s largest professional basketball league to its Haikou resort, making Hainan island a leading hub for football and basketball development in China.

For more information and latest updates, visit us at www.missionhillschina.com or follow Mission Hills China on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.