Philadelphia's indoor football league team is bringing some of that hometown "soul" abroad to China.
Yesterday, Philadelphia Councilman David Oh met with owners and executives with the Philadelphia Soul to discuss the team's plans to help their parent league, the Arena Football League, to expand into Asia. Oh said the team will follow in the footsteps of the Philadelphia Orchestra in helping the city to build international relationships.
Two of the Soul owners, Conshohocken businessman Martin Judge and Eagles' great Ron Jaworski, plan to introduce a six-team indoor professional football league that will start play in the fall of 2014. The Soul is investing $20 million to send athletic supplies overseas to help kick off the training of players and coaches at Asian universities.
Judge said the Chinese have too many dull sports. He wants to liven up the sports scene.
"Soccer's boring," said Judge, a native of the Northeast. Judge added that the hardest part will be introducing the American brand of football to the people.
"They have no idea what football is," he said. "We've got to train them."
David Niu, president of AFL China, said he is excited for what the venture could mean for the two countries moving forward
"For the Chinese, arena football is a very new sports event," Niu said, adding that he thinks people in China will like the sport and it could act as a cultural bridge. "I think the sport is good for USA and China people to understand each other."
Judge said the six Chinese teams will be sold for $10 million each. China plans to hold American AFL exhibition games in the cities of Beijing and Guangzhou in October, which would represent the first American football game played in China.