NYU Shanghai Football Team’s Road to Success

Anisa Muca interviews follows the development and successes of the NYU Shanghai Football Team, who won second place at the NFL China Tournament this year.

NYU Shanghai’s football team successfully earned a well-deserved second place in their round at the official National Football League (NFL) China Tournament. The two-day tournament that took place at the Shanghai Science and Technology University served as the perfect platform for the team to showcase their progress and hard work on the playing field. Entering the team’s fourth year of playing for NYU Shanghai, team captain Jacko Walz gives an insightful perspective on the football team, their tournament success, and his hopes for the future.

“Our team was created in fall of my freshman year. At first we only set up a small team, with only our coach and footballs, and no games to play,” said Walz. “In my sophomore year, we entered the NFL China League and we were provided with uniforms, flags, equipment and most importantly, people and teams to play with.”

Ever since joining the league, the team experienced a truly significant growth. The latest tournament was held at the Shanghai Science and Technology University, home campus of several of the competing teams. It was a two-day double elimination tournament, with eight competing teams in each round. What was noticeable was the disparity of talent in the tournament on many different levels.

“On the first day of the tournament, we still felt like there were things that needed improvement. On the second day however, there was a confidence in our team that changed things. Our defense was shutting down other offences. Everything eventually went the right way.” said Walz. “It was the best football we’ve played so far at NYU Shanghai.”

When asked about the enthusiasm among the freshman, Walz admitted that there is a decline in the participation of Class 2020. 1/3 of the team are seniors, 1/3 are sophomores and there are a few juniors as well that are active team members. These numbers are however, in complete contrast with the number of freshmen who consistently go to practice, which is very low. Considering the absence of juniors in the team this year, he hoped that freshman would take up that role in the football team.

Changes in the Athletic Department in the university are essential to increase the rate of involvement between students, and especially freshman, as they will be the leading members of the team for the years to come.

“If there were posters, more t-shirts, and more enthusiasm to foster participation, it would be a major step towards promoting our football team.” suggested Walz.

The team is optimistic to see what lies ahead of them. In the hopes that they continue to play in the NFL China League, the team wishes to involve itself in the Shanghai community as there are a lot of teams in Shanghai to play with. Walz especially praised coach John Robertson considering his work to be what “keeps the team relevant.” Regardless of what happens in the future, the most critical and important thing for the team is that they keep playing football.

This article was written by Anisa Muca. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: NYU Shanghai

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