The China Arena Football League is the first professional football league in China, and will serve as a developmental arena league. The CAFL will feature American players who are on current rosters along with Chinese born players. The mix of players will give American players a chance to continue in their professional career, and help build a competitive league.
The Qingdao Clipper will play in the Guoxin Gymnasium, a.k.a. “The Diamond,” which has a capacity of 12,500 seats. Rod Miller will serve as the team’s first head coach.
Miller, a veteran indoor football coach has spent time with numerous organizations, most recent as the defensive coordinator for the Wichita Force. In 2014, Miller was the the secondary and special teams coach for the Philadelphia Soul.
With the first pick in the 2016 CAFL Draft, the Qingdao Clippers selected quarterback Bryan Randall, who played collegiately for Virgina Tech. Undrafted out of college in 2005, Randall has played for a variety of teams in the NFL, CFL and indoor leagues.
Joining Randall in the huddle will be fellow Virginia Tech Hokie wide receiver Xavier Boyce. Boyce recorded 177 receiving yards and six touchdowns during his 2015 rookie campaign. He spent much of the 2016 season on the injured list, but hopes to use his time in the CAFL to return to playmaker status.
In the second round the Clipper selected lineman Jason Holmand of the Jacksonville Sharks. He is listed at six-foot-two and 305 pounds. In 2014, Holmand played in 16 games for the Soul, primarily at center. Inactive much of this season he has only appeared in three games this year for Jacksonville.
On defense, Qingdao signed 6-foot-6 defensive end Jake Metz who played for the Philadelphia Soul last season, and spent a short time with the Philadelphia Eagles during summer training camp prior to the start of the 2016 season.
In addition, Qingdao adds veteran arena football defensive back Tanner Varner to anchor the squads defense. Varner has logged 327 career tackles and 25 career interceptions during his six AFL seasons.
The regular season kicks off on Oct. 1 and will be known as the “Super Series.” The inaugural championship game will be called “The China Bowl.”