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Wang touches down with SUIS kids

WHEN Edward Wang, the first Chinese player of the American National Football League (NFL), showed up at the Shanghai United International School's Hongqiao campus, students burst into cheers and gave him their warmest welcome.

Wang spared one day of his tight four-day schedule in Shanghai last month to interact with members of Blue Dragon, the school's American football team. He played with students, showed off his dazzling skills, and offered tips on how to play the sport. Wang, an American football offensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills, is the idol for many members of Blue Dragon. He was so popular that he was overwhelmed by requests for signatures or photos after his teaching session concluded in the afternoon.

"I am very excited to see him, and it is fun to play with him," said Wu Keyan, a Grade 3 student of the school who was happy to get Wang's signature.

Becoming fascinated by the charm of American football, Wu joined the team one year ago. He said Wang's suggestions on playing American football were extremely helpful.

SUIS, which has its own American football team, offers curriculum targeting three different groups of youngsters, from eight to 10 years old, 11 to 13 years old, and 14 to 18 years old. The goal is to develop students' skills in American football and to introduce them to scholarship opportunities to play games and study in the United States.

Wang said he was surprised by the flair of Blue Dragon's members in playing the game.

"They are good players, better than me when I was their age. They have a lot of energy and move very fast. I believe they will become stronger and more professional in the future and have a bigger impact in American football's development in China."

Wang, born in 1987, started playing American football when he was six. He suggested students watch more videos of the game, which would help them keep learning about it and improve their skills.

The SUIS American football program and its team Blue Dragon cooperate closely with the NFL. There have been regular competitions and communication.

Besides American football, SUIS has other physical education programs and clubs such as soccer, golf, basketball and fencing to develop students' physical fitness, team spirit and confidence. It has also set up a folk music studio, a Peking Opera studio and an art studio.


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