In 1994, Brian Mc Closkey began to set up a team to participate in the tournaments organized between various expatriate teams in Shanghai. Because these tournaments became so popular, Brian Mc Closkey decided to create the Shanghai Lions in 1996. At the same time, Brian together with 3 other expatriates decided to establish the Shanghai International Football League [SIFL]. Brian served on the SIFL’s organizing committee from that time until the Lions decided to leave the SIFL in 2003 to form the Shanghai Premier League [SPL] in Pudong.
Originally, the Shanghai Lions consisted of players from the British Isles, which is why Brian adopted the name Lions after the British Lions rugby name incorporating these nations. As the years went on however the team attracted players from all over the world.
Brian Mc Closkey has served as founder and president of the Shanghai Lions from the beginning in 1996 until he left Shanghai in 2009. To be mentioned as well Aziz Mrabet who’s probably the player who had the strongest influence on the team over those early years.
Brian’s philosophy for the Lions was to strive for improvement in every game. Not only he wanted to win games but also to perform well.