[Lions Abroad] Joel Zielke

Outside of Wrigley Field – Home of the Chicago Cubs

Interview of Joel Zielke

FB: When did you leave China ?
JZ: After 7 years in Shanghai, we left in June 2014.

FB: Where do you live now ?
JZ: We moved back to my hometown of Elmhurst, IL.  It is about 20 miles West of downtown Chicago.  My family is all within 30 minutes of here so it is very nice to get together with my parents, siblings and my nephews on a regular basis.

FB: Still two kids or more in the pipe line ?
JZ: Still two.  Kylee is now 7 and Paxton is 4. They keep us busy.  They have started their soccer careers and it is a lot of fun to watch them play.

FB: What do you miss the most from China ?
JZ: I miss our friends from Concordia and the Lions family!  I always looked forward to game day on Sundays!

Our HS team won the Illinois State Championship in 2015

FB: What do you not miss at all beside the pollution ?
JZ: The traffic and congestion.  It is nice to have some personal space again!

FB: Are you still coaching soccer ? or playing in the USA ?
JZ: I am an Assistant coach for a HS team at Timothy Christian Schools where Trixy teaches and our kids go to school.  I haven’t found time or a good club to play with yet…

FB: Heard you changed your job how is the new job ?
JZ: The new job is great.  I am now selling Real Estate with Berkshire Hathaway.  The flexible schedule allows me to spend more time with my kids.  Let me know when you guys are ready to buy some US property!  

FB: In the Lions you were famous for your power and goal scoring capability ?  What was in your mind the best goal you scored.
JZ: That is a hard one…  I was always proud of all of my goals – especially PKs and headers I scored off of set pieces.  The ones that stick out more than anything are the ones I missed… I remember a free kick I took from about 30 yards out.  I hit it so hard it drilled off the cross bar and flew back over my head!

FB: I remember one game you exceptionally lost it against the referee was it because of the referee or because of you own state of mind ?
JZ: Kevin!!! I am usually pretty level headed.  I must have had enough of getting taken out from behind.  So clearly it was the referee…

FB: Do you remember any specific game you played with the Lions more than the other games ?
JZ: The championship games really stick out in my mind.  It was always fun winning the title and the celebration afterwards.

FB: Did the coach put you on the bench sometimes ?
JZ: My first season as a Lion I didn’t play much.  That was when Brian was still coaching.  We all know he didn’t make the best decisions…  I think I might have been benched once after that.

FB: You woke up bathing in sweat and realized you had a nightmare about the Lions ! What was the nightmare about ?
JZ: We didn’t win the Title!  Thankfully we always did!!!

FB: Usually topscorers of a team tend to be selfish but in your case it’s the opposite how did you manage to score so many goals for the Lions ?
JZ: I have always found it more fun to get everyone involved in the game.  I always had a strong desire to outwork the opponent and win!  I probably could have scored a few more goals but we had so many talented players it was not always necessary. 

FB: How was life without Trump and How is life with Trump ?
JZ: I don’t watch the news and don’t feel any difference in policy on a daily basis.  My biggest concern is with North Korea.  I hope that doesn’t escalate into something horrific!

FB: Have you met any other Lions in the USA since you left ?
JZ: Unfortunately I have not.  The International Champions Cup comes through Chicago every summer.  I am waiting for the Lions to get a spot in the tournament! 

We are thinking about a trip back to Shanghai in the Spring of 2018 or 2019.  Hopefully you can squeeze me on the field for a few minutes!

2 Lions play against Chinese Olympic U20 in Dalian


Last weekend, Azz & Rad had the privilege to play in Dalian a friendly against Chinese Olympic U20 who are preparing for the Tokyo Olympics. Final score was 6-2 for Chinese Olympic Team.

Proud of you boys!!!

[Lions Abroad] Felipe Da Fonseca

Interview of Felipe Da Fonseca

FB: How have you been Felipe ?
FDF: I’ve been doing quite well even thought my family and I struggled to get used to our life in our French country after time spent in China. Now everything is ok and despite some injuries I’ve got these past years (knee and the most important was broken hamstring tendons).

FB: Tell us where you live now and what job you are doing ?
FDF: We are now living in Grenoble which is a famous city for its mountaineering area. I am now running my own company in recruiting and HR area.

FB: Your daughter was at a young age a better player than you did she continue to play in France ?
FDF: Ahah, she is still much better than me and now playing in the major women soccer club of the city in under 18th category. She’s like her father, a harsh defender.

FB: When did you leave China and why you never came back ?
FDF: I left china in July 2013, came back in 2014 (played with lions) and we’d love to come to visit our friends and lions’ family as soon as possible but the opportunity and my new position did not permit it yet.

FB: Do you miss China and if so what about China you miss ?
FDF: Yes my family and I miss China. I miss the peaceful life in China, the safety feeling you have when chilling outside even late in the night, the dynamic city life with everything opened anytime, food and most of everything the lions family !

FB: How is your Mandarin ?
FDF: Very bad !

FB: Are you playing in France if so which team you play for and how is the level ?
FDF: I am playing in France but not within a club. We meet on Saturday morning and we play 7 aside games. Level would be comparable with the one we played in Luwan on Monday evening and organized by Azz and Kevin. My daughter is now playing in Grenoble (GF38) woman team in U18 in regional level meeting teams such as St Etienne, Evian… Besides that, I am responsible for the woman section in that club which best team is playing in French National Division 2 championship. The goal this year is to access the 1st division and then play against teams like Lyon, Marseille, Paris and so on.

FB: During your time with the Lions you became famous for your playing style as you were like a razorblade playing on the edge every game ? Were you born like that and how did you motivate yourself before each game to play like a razor blade ?
FDF: I think that this was my main game style since my younger age and when I enter the field it is for winning and only the victory was important, that’s why I don’t need extra motivation. I loved playing against shooters and azzuris and that French team on Sunday league. Games with a bit of tension are my favorites

FB: You seemed to collect cards during your spill with the Lions ? Is there a booking or sending off you remember all the time ?
FDF: Actually, I did not remember being sent off so often but the one that will probably stay in my mind is the one in Phuket.

FB: What was the highlight for you playing with the Lions ?
FDF: It was when we beat every team and the lions won again the SIFL championship and we also won the cup that year. Also one of my best records was when we won the masters. Most of all I loved the after games with all the team gathering together.

FB: Have you scored for the Lions ?
FDF: OF COURSE ! and several times maybe more than our “Pivot” striker haha

FB: You have been to Phuket a few times with the Lions ? Any interesting details you can share with us ?
FDF: Hummm… tricky question… what happens in Phuket must stay in Phuket but for a team building stage this is awesome for a team: lot of good games and fun as well. Just one small detail that I could share here is when Allan our fantastic Belgian player was chilling on the beach completely naked.

FB: Portugal became European Champion last year how did you celebrate it ?
FDF: Actually, I was supporting the French team but my daughter Manon was for Portugal and went crazy singing and shouting everywhere.

FB: Have you seen other Lions abroad since you left ?
FDF: Yes I’ve been with our former goalkeeper Tom in Paris and with Fred Guilloux (“donnez-moi le là…..”) when he came to Grenoble.

FB: As you know we have a succesfull Shanghai Lions Legends team now ! What do we need to do to make you come over and play with the Legends for a couple of years ?
FDF: I’ve seen that this team is growing a lot and that’s fantastic, I would be honored to play again for the lions but I am afraid my professional situation now is not leading me to visit or live in China. You can still invite me and I will do my best to come.

FB: Do you miss the Shooters ?
FDF: Yes a lot for those tense games we had ! I loved playing hard and win against those guys.

FB: Anything else?
FDF: I just would like to conclude that you guys made and are making a terrific job with this club and I know what energy is required for that as now I am part of a club to be developed. You are the Lions spirit and this a unique club and team with big humans values ! I LOVED THAT. Go on and if I can help in anything I will do it.

Survey result for season 2017/2018


It is great to see the Lions coming back from their summer breaks and we would like to explain our plans for the upcoming season.
The survey we did early summer was a success with 49 answers and the outcome was used to make the plan for the new season. 


Here is a recap of the survey:


Picture 1 of 7

Lions website broke the 2 million hits mark


2 million hits

Our website has been one of our key success factors of the last couple of years. We designed it by ourselves 4 years back with the help of Francois & Maxime. Actually it started to become the “heartbeat” of the Lions as it was actively being used by our players but also by people from all over the world who showed interest in our club as well people who like to find out what is the status of football in China. That we surpassed the 2 million hits mark in such a short time proves the importance of the site. It’s a great tool for sponsors like Ajisen to get their name out in China and in the rest of the world. We will continue to make our website better and better and would like to thank our users for their support !

We hope everybody keeps visiting our site and we are looking forward to break the 5 million hits in the future !

Freek, Shanghai Lions FC President

[Lions Abroad] Jonathan O’Shea

Jonathan O'SheaWe tracked down Johnny O’ Shea a player who have contributed a lot to the success of the Lions on and off the pitch !  We asked him the following questions to get an idea how he has been since he left China and the Lions !

Freek Boelen

Interviewee of the month: Jonathan O’Shea

FB: Johnny where do you currently live ? You are still single ? or married with two kids like Charly ?

JOS: Firstly, I live in a town called Middlesbrough. Yes, the famous one built the Sydney bridge and the team that had Juninho, Hasslebaink, Ravanelli, Emmerson, Boksic, Paul Ince and Paul Gascoigne all playing for them. I am still not married and have no children, however, I am putting the weight on like Charly. I am dating, so we will see where it goes.

FB: Are you still playing soccer and if yes what team if no what you you do in your free time ?

JOS: I don’t play 11 aside any more over here because I don’t enjoy the style of play, the weather and most of the all the way the people behave. They just want to fight all the time. The football played in the Lions team was far more enjoyable because we got the ball on the floor and passed it around. I do however, play 7 aside on a large 7 aside pitch. This game is quick and is a very enjoyable game to play in. Unfortunately, I snapped my groin over 5 weeks ago and haven’t been able to do any form of sport at all since then. So my fitness it deteriorating too quick for my liking. 

FB: What do you miss the most from living in China and what you don’t’ miss at all ?

JOS: I miss many things in China. The ease of transport was a great thing. The metro system worked like clock work and was extremely reliable and cheap. The taxis were cheap and easily accessible. I miss the hot weather and the enormous choice of restaurants, bars and coffee shops to go to. The atmosphere in China is one thing I miss a lot of. Here in England everything shuts at 6 at the latest and then everyone goes home to just sit down and laze on the sofa. When it is dark, it seems as though it is a ghost town. In contrast, Shanghai seems to have a second wind at night and many more great things open up and come to life – the night markets for example. The city of Shanghai is extremely cosmopolitan and I really miss being able to just meet up with people on an evening or during the weekend and not one of them is English. It is so refreshing to have great company from many different countries throughout the world, especially Europe. This brings me onto the company of the Lions. One major aspect I really miss from China is getting up on a Saturday or Sunday morning (even at 6 am, it made no difference to me) and think, ‘yes I am playing football today with the best team in Shanghai’. My reasons for this are because the style of play, the mix of nationalities, but most of all the family that all the lions players made the team to be. There are many things I miss about China (especially the girls in the summer when they wear those tight skimpy short) and could keep on going.  

What I don’t miss about China is mainly the enormity of people always wanting to go to the same place at the same time. The Chinese did not know how to do things on their own or how to queue. They definitely could have been a bit more respectful, but I grew to enjoy this. It’s part of the package. One more thing I didn’t like, but it only happened on a very few occasions, was how the Chinese seemed to only be interested in right there right now. They could not think about the long term of things. So they tried to rip me off when trying to get some things sorted for business. If only they thought about dealing in a better way, then they would get my business for the long term. 

FB: What are your best memories playing for the Lions ?

JOS: Memories for Lions??? Well, I have quite a few. I remember the first time I turned up for the lions during the summer tournament. I had only arrived in Shanghai the week before I Charly had replied to email right away asking me to come along and play. Straight away I felt at home and enjoyed how we played football and how everyone was given an opportunity and welcomed in. I trained with another team that week, and within 5 minutes I knew the Lions team was for me. I remember winning the cup and right after winning, we all jumped into the plunge pool. Some great celebrations went on. Latina after the Sunday games was always fun. It was great food and a really good opportunity to drink. You know I liked to have a drink or two. I remember my birthday quite well and seeing Francois stuck in the bush after he had drank the Mongolian Baizhou. That stuff was disgusting! Winning team of the year, two years running. It was always nice to be stood there collecting the trophy with the team. And of course, you Freek. Now I remember you and your great management team talks before the game (FUCK Them all). But what was great about you, was how you always put the team first and always made time for each individual even with your hectic schedule. Oh, and how you always did your long chant on big celebration nights. I honestly don’t know how you can last for so long. 

FB: You wake up soaked in sweat and just had a terrible nightmare about the Lions what was the nightmare about ?

JOS: If i did wake up from a nightmare about the Lions, it would be realizing that it is no longer there for me to come and visit, or that the team has just capitulated and lose every week 6, 7, 8, 9 to zero, just like the Anzacs. 

FB: We all remember your excellent performance during the Hangzhou tournament and sharing a room with Chris Martinez we wonder what kind of bed time stories he have told you ? can you share one or two ?

JOS: Honestly, I can’t really remember the bed time stories I had with Chris, but I do remember have long, deep and meaningful stories about his wine business and how the competition is stifling his. 

FB: You became famous as our Shooters killer as you seemed to play your best games against them what was your motivation like ?

JOS: My motivation for playing against the shooters. Them being British of course. My self being British, every time I played against them I had to beat them. They had British arrogance when ever I saw them and I had to knock this down. It’s always nice to beat the British scum…

FB: Is it true that you can fly ?

JOS: I might have been able to fly when I first joined the shooters, but all the amazing food and happy hour deals in Shanghai impacted on that ability and weighed me down. 

FB: What was your best goal for the Lions can you describe it ?

JOS: Not entirely sure which was my best goal, I can’t really remember them all. But I do remember scoring a header against the Germans. We took a short corner and I could hear you shouting to not take it short. Jerome crossed it in and there I was out jumping everyone and powering it into the top corner. There was another goal in which I rounded the shooter’s keeper with my right foot and placed it in the goal. I remember Azz saying he didn’t think I was able to do that. 

FB: What changed for you after Brexit ?

JOS: When it comes to Brexit, I knew for ages that we were going to vote out. Everyone up North has nothing here and therefore we were all saying vote out. Since the vote, nothing has changed. All we hear is people moaning about it in London, and up in the North, the Government do nothing to assist us, so we would rather see what the unknown brings than just stay in the same terrible situation. 

FB: Do you plan to visit China any time soon ?

JOS: I really want to come back to China, I always talk about it and say that I really hope to visit there again. I intend to play for the legends one day now that I am the correct age. I am now a primary school teacher and am looking to move abroad and work in an international school. I should speak to Dave or Garret. They may be able to put a good word in for me. 

FB: If we organize a Lions Match in France would you come over ?

JOS: If you do arrange a game in France, I will definitely come over and play, if it is at a date that I am free. Due to being a teacher, I only have the holidays to come over. But I would love to play again so please arrange it during the holidays. 

FB: Have you met other Lions players abroad ?

JOS: Outside of China, I have met up with one of the Lions players. This was Allan. We were both partying on the Island Hvar in Croatia and realized we were both staying in the same hotel. Id like to visit more players, and intend to hopefully go over to France one time to catch up with some. 

Great to hear from you Johnny and indeed we hope to see you back in China one day !


Match Reports [Week 48]


We had our Christmas dinner last Friday December 02nd. A nice gathering as always with a good mix of senior and legends. The highlight of this year was “the guess who” picture game organized by Freek. From the texture of the grain to picture color you could see ages passing but still some Lions were easier to recognize than others. Special mention to Gwendal with his Chris Waddle hair cut AKA “La brosse a queue de rat”… It was obviously him but wanted to see Simon with hair. Another mention to Tomas who tried to get photocolored but we had design expert Radouane watching 🙂




Beside, please find below the match reports from last week. Click on the links below to get squad information, pictures & game statistics & highlights.

Lions Legends ended 3rd in the SPL veteran league after a great season
DECEMBER 4, 2016, 11:00
Japan FC 3 – 0 Shanghai Lions FC

Lions beat Century Park FC 1-0
DECEMBER 4, 2016, 14:00
Shanghai Lions FC 1 – 0 Century Park FC

[Lions Abroad] Patrick Lapon

The beauty of Shanghai football is that people come and go! So many players have contributed one way or the other to the success of the club that it’s almost getting difficult to keep track of all of you. We miss you guys! This is why we have decided to create a new category called “Lions abroad” to give the opportunity to give news but also share memories we have had together on and off the pitch.

Freek Boelen

Interviewee of the month: Patrick Lapon


FB: Where you live now?
PL: I am in Berlin, Germany… Matze’s city 😉

FB: Alone or with other people ?
PL: I’m living now with my girlfriend

FB: How is it to live there compared with Shanghai ?
PL: Berlin is a really nice, less polluted, more cold but people are nice.

FB: Do you play football there if so which team if not why not ?
PL: Yes i found a football team of course. I play for the FC Schoneberg. I will never stop and will try to play over Tomas, Fred & Freek’s age… The team is fine quite cool. I don’t know exactly the level but it’s fine. Compare to the lions, we have a younger team but i think in a real match we will beat them :)))

FB: What do you miss about the Lions and what don’t you miss about the Lions ?
PL: I miss:

  • The team, and the crazy moment with the lads,  the century park ground , the trip when we go to the stadium with AZZ, RAD, Rabiot, our team’s events… everything !!!!!!!!
  • To hear laughing Radouane, Nicolas “Di Margarita” and Romain’s joke
  • When Tomas says every time ” Cabron and la puta …”
  • Freek’s speech before each game: “beautiful pitch beautiful weather”

I don’t miss :

  • The Shooters
  • The cross to the 3rd post of Di Margarita
  • The locker rooms euh …. yes we don’t have
  • Kevin the ref
  • The “Who are we?” We got a better one in Schoneberg (see below in youtube video) mdrrrrr !!!!! 


FB: What do you miss about Shanghai and what don’t you miss about Shanghai?
PL: I miss

  • Mainly my friends and the team
  • The Food from the the yeshari Muslim restaurant.
  • The fake Market
  • Get a taxi or moto taxi, tchouk tchouk with a good price.
  • The massage
  • Meeting Tomas and his family for dinner and enjoy good moments with the kids.
  • L’UNICO and the party with Bokou Haram team 😉 !!!!…….. almost everything.

I don’t miss people in the subway or in the elevators.

FB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
PL: In 5 years I don’t exactly but i will still play and enjoy football + plus some international match with the lions (if this can happen)

FB: Do you have a nightmare sometimes about the lions? what does it look like?
PL: Yes I have one sometimes I sleep and i imagine Charly slim, Simon with hair the worst one is when I saw Matt Witko and Di Margarita are going faster than me in the pitch. Fortunately it s only a dream

FB: Do you have a dream about the lions sometimes and what is it about?
PL: I dream that Manchester united comes for the pre-season and ask the lions to make a friendly game. Then Azz call me and i take the first flight to play against or that the Lions integrate the Chinese super league and I will be in the Staff.

FB: Did you see any other old lions recently ?
PL: Yes I have met Charles, he is playing with my team sometimes but he’s now goalkeeper 😀 (see right below). Feel free to come guys, you are more than welcome !!!!!

I miss you all of you guys !!!!!
Merci beaucoup and miss you my friend !

Farewell: Charles Georg, first Lions to get Legend Gold Status !



Part of living in Shanghai is that people come and go but sometimes people stay for a longer period. In his case Charles stayed more than 12 years in Shanghai. We gave him a great farewell party last Friday at 3 on the Bund and many Lions showed up to pay their respect to hardcore Lion. In a speech by the President we tried to look back what he achieved in this period as family man, player and club vice president. The list was long as after a quick flirt with the Shooters he realized that his life was and still will be with the Lions.


Here is a quick summary of what he has won as player:

  • 10 SPL Championship
  • 3 SPL Cups
  • 4 SIFL Championships
  • 3 SIFL Cup
  • 1 Hebeiguchi Cup
  • Master Tournament
  • Lions Cup
  • tournaments wins in Qindao, Xiamen, Hangzhou and Phuket !


Charles has been instrumental in helping the Lions to change from a Football Team into a Football Club he had his own style of communication which was direct and clear. With his expertise build up by his own team building Company he became a specialist in organizing events especially related to sports. For his contribution to the success of the Shanghai Lions Football Club for more than 12 years he received the honorary title of “Lions Legend Gold” member. We wish farewell to him and his family with a safe journey back to France and hope they can settle down well ! For us we are left with a big gap in our organization but we will find other Lions willing to offer a helping hand to carry the club forward ! Charles on behalf of all Lions players in and outside China we like to say “XIE XIE” for everything you have done for the club.

xie xie charly


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