Lions back in action after COVID-19 crisis

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COVID-19It has been a difficult time as right during the CNY holiday we found ourselves in a situation which none of us expected to happen. When COVID-19 virus broke out China took fast-action closing down all the cities and ordered all the people to stay home. With all the school closed it meant that soccer was no option for us as the fields were closed as well! Life without football was hard and it made you realize how much we missed the weekly training and matches together with your friends from all over the world! Sitting/working at home is not good for your fitness level as you surely move less and tend to eat and drink a bit more. For one week you can laugh about it as we were all in the same boat but after two months it’s no longer a joke and a lot of us found ourselves frustrated at home… However, in the last couple of days, the situation has improved a lot in Shanghai. This is contrary to the situation in the rest of the world as now all sports including soccer are halted across the globe on a scale we have never seen in our lifetimes.

You can imagine how happy we were when the Shanghai Government announced last week that sports facilities could re-open to adults only subject temperature checks and proof of Green QR code. We were quick to take this opportunity and booked a field at Qi Yi sports complex and enjoyed our first match of football last Sunday! With a blue sky and 24 degrees and no pollution, you can imagine we played with smiles on our faces!

Yesterday we had our first training session and although we are all still a bit out of shape we are motivated to get our fitness back!

Couple of more training sessions and we will be ready for our first match post COVID-19 virus!

Happy to be back!

Cheers
Freek

Happy New Year 2020

Happy New Year 2020Lions, friends & family. It’s time to say goodbye to 2019 and welcome this happy new year 2020! 2019 was a good year for the Lions as we left some footprints everywhere in Shanghai!

  1. Our U16’s started to play very well in the second half of the season as the hard work at the training paid off. First of all our players were fitter and stronger due to Nick’s work out sessions and the tactical two/three touch pieces of training made all players more confidence in the games. Actually, while we were already in mid-June and were done for the season we became Champions as Ebbe Sand our competitor lost their so-called “easy match” against YKFC.
  2. Our U18’s started well from the beginning of the season and were Champions for the second year in a row 10 points clear from number two DEQ. We ended the season with a nice BBQ for players and parents and held a match for the fathers vs. the sons the next day at Concordia.
  3. Our Seniors did well with the help of some of our U18 players including Noel our youth keeper… We got also a lot of students who played with us for 3 to 6 months. However, the competition was a neck to neck race vs. old rival the Marlins. The last match of the season was to decide the Champion but we lost and ended second! We did participate for the first time in the Chen Yi Cup” organized by the SFA. We enjoyed it but lost our second match in the last minute of playing time. We will join again next year and we will do better.
  4. Our Legends had one of their best years ever as they won the SPL V league a strong competition with 10 teams! They also won the Master Cup the over 40’s tournament organized by Super48 and the Santa cup for the first time. In both tournaments, the legends won all their matches and didn’t concede a single goal! The key to the success of the Legends is the commitment of the players to turn up for matches… As a matter of fact, they managed to have almost the same squad week in and week out and play in the same formation most of the time. Well done legends!

The Lions FC is and will always be a club where we rely on the help of our own players to run and manage the club. That’s the beauty of our club and we were very sad when we got to know that Azzeddine made the decision to move to Phuket. Azzeddine’s contribution to the club is hard to express in words but his passion for the sport and the understanding of the game is from a level we can only look up to and we appreciate so much as he showed us the way how to train how to play and how to win!

In the last two years, he has put all his love and energy in the youth teams and all teams improved! Of course, we always hope he will come back one day but for now, we do wish him all the best in the world for his new life in Phuket.

Going forward we are very pleased with Patrick taking over Azzeddine’s role at the youth and senior training. With the great physical sessions of Nick, we have a great team of coaches. Also, it’s nice to see Romain helping out with the senior team and new Lions U18 players making their debut with the senior teams and playing very well! Last but not least I like to thank FL who’s working on the background to keep our website and statistics alive and running! Life nowadays is all about content…. and with 3.5M clicks on our website, we must do something right!

We wish all the Lions and their families in Shanghai or abroad a very healthy, sportive & happy new year 2020! Let’s leave a couple of more footprints in Shanghai this new year! Trust me we are very lucky and fortunate to have this great group of people and players from all over the world keeping the name and reputation of the Shanghai Lions alive and kicking! Once you are back home to your country only then you realize how special it was to play in Shanghai with the Lions whether you are U16 or U18 or Senior or a Legend!

 

LET’S ALL ENJOY TO BE PART OF THE LIONS FAMILY AND MAKE 2020 ANOTHER GREAT SHANGHAI LIONS YEAR !!

 

CHEERS & HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020 AGAIN
Freek on behalf of all the Lions in the WORLD!

Matty Ward moving back to England

Matty WardMatty Ward is an exceptional youth player who played both in the youth & the senior Lions’ teams. During these last 2 years, he won multiple awards such as Top Scorer & Best SPL Young Player. He stood-out with his determination to improve himself whenever he was on the field either at the training or at the matches. We wish him success in England and hopefully, he can bring his football career to the next level!

I have known Matty for 4 years now and he has been a real pleasure to coach. He gained a lot in his mental and physical development and I know he still has more to give. Thank you and I wish you all the best in the future !
Nick

The first time I met Matty it was when our friend Christian decided to promote him to the senior team of Century Park. A little boy that had a good touch with the ball. After being his coach for more than 2 years I had the pleasure to see him grow quickly. I hope I have helped him in some ways. And the best part for me was to actually play with him in the games and watch him do what he does the best. Please don’t forget us Matty and remember you are always welcome here!
Azzeddine

Matty Ward statistics

Best wishes to you Matty
Freek on behalf of all the Lions family!

Lions to enter Chen Yi Cup organized by Shanghai Football Association

As the SPL and SFA (Shanghai Football Association) started a cooperation to promote soccer in Shanghai, we are happy to announce that the Lions will join the Chen Yi Cup 2019. Chen Yi was a former famous Mayor of Shanghai. This tournament will have 64 teams competing in a knock out Cup tournament from May until August 2019. If we can be among the 4 best teams, we’ll be able to get a slot into the official China National Super Cup tournament together with the professional teams !

 

Lets enjoy this new venture and hope we can reach far in the tournament !

 

Cheers
Freek

Season 2017/18 has been a success

successful season 2017-2018Dear Senior Lions, Lions Youth, Lions Legends, Lions Abroad, Friends and Family ! As a club we ended our season last weekend with our youth clinching the SPL U17 Title ! While we started as an expat team back in 1996, we’re certainly now a real family Club ! We have three strong sections representing the club at the highest competitive football level in Shanghai ! All of this contributed to make a successful season 2017-2018 ! Xie Xie

 

Youth Academy (SPL U17)

Let’s start with our Lions Youth first as they have the future ! We were asked to take over the Century Park Youth (above 14 years old) back in May 2017… From day 1, we were committed to make it happen as we already had a youth team for the older players.

We set up the Shanghai Lions Youth Academy and were happy to have Azzeddine and Nick taking up the coaching / training jobs ! We trained twice a week on Wednesday and Friday at the great 11 aside field of Concordia and played matches in the SPL U17 league on Saturdays. The commitment and hard work of our players at the training was outstanding and week after week our team got stronger and stronger. Suddenly, players from all over the world started to bond and what was crucial was that especially our older youth players started to feel responsible for the younger ones and they gave them great support and advice during the season !

This in the end resulted in success ! First we won the Aksil Cup beating the German in final on penalties ! It showed our never give up mentality ! In the SPL U17 league we were trailing from behind after two losses early in the season but week after week we got stronger and stronger. Therefore, when Wiss Stoke City slipped up against Ebbe Sand we knew that a win over Japan would give us the title ! We didn’t have to tell the young lions what was at stake as a large win sealed the deal and it was great end of a great season !

Matty got the SPL top scorer award with 19 goals and Julia picked up the Champions award as our captain ! Great team effort and great job from the coaches !

Golden Boot Award

  Name   Age PL GLS
Matthew Ward 16 7 19
Philipp Jobst 19 10 11
Victor Xavier Veloso 19 6 4
more stats

Youth Team Standing (Season 2017-2018)

 

First Team (SPL)

Next up are our Lions Senior players who played in the SPL, a competition we have won multiple times ! With the Cowboys and ERS having left the league, we knew that the Marlins will be our closest rival. Also, it was clear that we couldn’t afford any slip against other teams !

In the first half of the season we won all our games but when we were up against the Marlins for the first time on January 14 we got an important wake up call as we not only lost Azz by injury during the game but we lost the match without creating opportunities 4-0 ! The turn out of the training during the winter started to drop which was not a good sign.

Luckily, some of our Youth players were ready to help out and started to get more and more playing time in our first team. We had to wait until April 14 to have our second encounter against the Marlins a loss would end our hopes. With a 1-1 score line and with 15 minutes to go on the clock it was by goals of our youngsters Shingi and Matty that gave us a 3-1 win and kept us in the race.

So the Championship race came down to the final match of the season we needed a win as we tied on goal difference but had scored less goals. The Marlins took the title away from us in a well deserved 3-2 win ! We gave it all in the second half and showed great team spirit on and off the field ! We will try to get the title back next season and we know now that we cannot slip up after the Christmas break !

Golden Boot Award

  Name   Age PL GLS
Azzeddine Takouloufa 35 11 13
Shingai Nindi 21 7 9
Romain & Jerome a Bloc Romain Haution 34 9 9
more stats

First Team Standing (Season 2017-2018)

 

Veteran Team (SPL V)

Our Legends were in the race for the SPL V Championship which went to the Emeralds on previous season ! However this time Emerald slipped up twice losing against Japan and Scotland and we were in a very close race with Japan for the title. In our second last match we faced Japan and we needed a draw to clinch the title ! The match was nerve wrecking but our defensive strategy paid off as we made sure Japan couldn’t counter we even scored first with a fine strike of Laid. With great saves from our goalie Clement and solid defensive work we could keep Japan on hold but they got one goal back and the last 10 minutes were not for the faint hearted people ! The final whistle was a big relief and we could start the celebrations ! SPL V Champions !

Golden Boot Award

  Name   Age PL GLS
Frederic Guilloux 44 12 17
Nicolas Bouchou 42 10 7
Placeholder Gwendall Volant 39 6 5
more stats

Veteran Team Standing (Season 2017-2018)

 

Two Championship Titles and a Second place is a good result for the Club. A special thank you is well placed for the hard work Azzeddine and Nick have done to keep us fit and sharp and focused at the training ! The training were great week in and week out ! Of course we also like to thank Concordia for allowing us to use their great facilities as nothing better than to train at a full size 11 aside field ! Our website reached 2.5 M clicks this year which is an achievement in its own right. Big thank you for Francois keeping track of the site and statistics for the players ! Thank you Thomas Z for helping to coach the first team !

What was important this season was that we got several youth players making their debut in the senior first team and they did very well as well we got several senior players making their debut in the Legends team and they did well as well. This makes our club real and unique in Shanghai ! Lets keep supporting each other and make the Club stronger and stronger !

As every year,  a few players will leave us at the end of this season and we wish them good luck with their new life and ventures outside China. Now, we already managed to recruit a few new players on all three levels which is very important for the consistency of the teams in our Club !

 

We hope everybody will enjoy the World Cup and the Summer break and we are looking forward to see you all back in Shape in August ! Well done Lions Youth, Lions and Lions Legends !

 

Cheers
Freek

[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!

[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.

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