Albuquerque, N.M. – The stage is set for the inaugural season of the China Arena Football League otherwise known as the CAFL. The first ever draft to fill the rosters of the CAFL is complete. The players that filled them hail from 5 different nations around the world and two representatives of the United States include two Duke City Gladiators.
Earlier this month, the historic inaugural draft of the CAFL took place and initially 120 players were selected in 20 rounds to fill the 6 teams slated to play this fall. The CAFL supplemented the inaugural draft with 2 more rounds which brought the total to 132 athletes.
Teams in the CAFL will play in 6 cities across China which includes Guangzhou, Dalian, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, and the capital city of Beijing.
Duke City’s Quarterback Bryan Randall was selected in the first round of the draft to play for the Qingdao Clipper under Head Coach Rod Miller who previously assisted on the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul. In the Gladiators’ 2016 season, Randall completed 111 of 189 passes and threw for 1,396 yards resulting in 36 touchdown passes. In addition, he rushed for 3 touchdowns. He was injured in midseason play with a broken arm, but healed in time to play the Gladiators’ season finale back on June 4th.
The other Gladiator selected to play on the same team as Randall is Offensive Lineman Wondell Rutledge. The 6’2”, 320 pound lineman was selected in the 14th round of the introductory CAFL draft and to no surprise he will continue to protect his QB Bryan Randall in Qingdao. Rutledge expressed his excitement by stating, “I'm headed to China to represent my family AKA (The Rutledge's). In the First Inaugural CAFL Draft, I was taken by the Qingdao Clippers. Just spoke with Coach I am headed to the San Diego of China.”
Now that the team rosters are set, according to the CAFL website, “Teams will now focus on mini-caps and strategic preparations for the CAFL’s inaugurate season to begin September 1 in Beijing, the first stop of the Super Series.”
The CAFL season will run from September 30th – November 6th and will be called “The Super Series.” Each city in the league will play host to a 3-game series for a total of 18 games which includes 15 regular season and 3 playoff games.
The Duke City Gladiator organization and community of Albuquerque wishes Bryan Randall and Wondell Rutledge the best of luck overseas.