Amateur team aims for great heights

Updated: 2014-07-29 06:51

By Luo Wangshu, Tan Yingzi and Ji Jin in Chongqing (China Daily)

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Amateur team aims for great heights

  Dockers’acting coach Eric Hall (center) and his team look on during a game against the Shanghai Titans in Chongqing this year.Provided to China Daily

"Some players quit because of the expense," he said.

Players attributed the success of the team to their American coach, Chris McLaurin, a former football player at the University of Michigan.

"Foreigners are very serious during training. They don't see the game as just a game, but a kind of career that really matters," Peng said.

The coaching team, including McLaurin, lays out the plans and tactics for the Dockers.

"Once the plan is done, players have to follow it strictly. They don't need our impromptu 'tactics' on the field," Peng said, adding that the systematic methodology brought the team "close to professionalism".

Wu said the foreign coaches also brought cultural understanding to the team.

"Many people see football as a dangerous game. They are afraid of hurting people or being hurt. In fact, injuries can be avoided by appropriate training. Football is not a game about violence but intelligence," Wu said.

When McLaurin returned to the US, Eric Hall became the acting coach. The 24-year-old Iowa native has played football since he was 8.

"The first time I came to watch the team, it was exciting. The game is fun, and I can make friends here," Hall said.

Hall, who lectures in a university in the city, joined the team in August.

"The players are strong and athletic guys. They are quick learners," he said.

"But they are also beginners, and I need to tell them basic rules and fundamental stuff," he said.

The difference in the sport between the US and China is that many US schools have a team and Americans start playing football from childhood, he said.

But the Dockers are unfazed. They start the new season of the amateur league this summer, and they are aiming to win the championship again.

Sun Xiaochen contributed to this story.

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